Six Cents

In February of 1896, after a heated exchange with Dr. Montague R. Leverson in the New York State Senate chambers, during which Leverson said that Anthony Comstock was “worse than any other man that ever lived since Judas,” Comstock confronted Leverson at the Albany Union Railroad Station and demanded an apology. Leverson refused. Comstock insisted. Leverson then stood on a bench and told the gathering multitude, “Ladies and gentlemen, this man is Anthony Comstock, a notorious blackmailer, who never earned an honest dollar in his life.”

A police officer joined the crowd, and Comstock demanded that Leverson be arrested for “a breach of the peace.” The next month, when the case came to trial, the jury deliberated for 15 minutes and Leverson was acquitted. Comstock stewed until November, and then sued Leverson for $50,000 for defamation of character.

In January of 1898, the suit came to trial in the United States Circuit Court and a jury awarded Anthony Comstock six cents (6¢) in damages.

Six Cents

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