"severely damaged Hauptmann's chances [at the NJ Trial]"
But if Fawcett had yielded easily on the issue of Extradition and let him go without a fight, what would really have changed? Ten more minutes to convict?
The handwriting evidence was what it was - so compelling that even BRH finally gave in on the matter, "the real crooks copied his handwriting."
The tool marks and wood identification (and joist nail placement) showed his connection to the home-built ladder.
He denied possessing any more Lindy gold notes (post arrest), and had to admit (after the search), that he did indeed just happen to have almost $15,000 in the ransom loot hidden in his garage, much in the original serial-number order when packed by the bank back in 1932.
He quit work at the Majestic (a job he paid to get) at the same time when the ransom was paid to Cemetery John. He bought expensive goods without accounting for the money, sent his wife to Europe on a high-priced steamer, bought silverware, a new canoe, custom-made suits, etc.
Fawcett may have done his client no favors with initially resisting Extradition to NJ in Oct 1934 (and locking in some earlier testimony), but in the overall context of the hard evidence presented at Flemington, does it really matter (much)?
It's not as if the end result would have been any different. Even Hauptmann himself admitted (at the Trial) that he did not work at the Majestic on Mar 1, 1932. His cancelled checks, with his own acknowledged endorsements, proved the same.
You should always put the odds in your favor. You look for the easier argument. A statement to the police in the pressurized environment of a police precinct is easier to attack than the atmosphere... more