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Hoffa Pleads Not Guilty to Assault Charge

May 18, 1962 - James R. Hoffa pleaded not guilty today to charges that he had assaulted Samuel Baron, a 59-year-old aide who talked back to him. The 49-year-old president of the Teamsters Union was arraigned in Washington before Municipal Court Judge Thomas C. Scalley along with a straggle of alleged thieves, wife-beaters, and the like. His lawyer, H. Clifford Allder, entered Mr. Hoffa’s plea and requested a jury trial, which was set for June 19. Later, four Teamster Union employees who were named by Mr. Baron as witnesses to the fracas were questioned by Federal attorneys. All four said that Mr. Baron had provoked Mr. Hoffa’s attack with a blow of his own. If convicted of the charge of simple assault, Mr. Hoffa would face a maximum penalty of a year in prison or a $500 fine or both. After his brief courtroom appearance, Mr. Hoffa smilingly brushed aside reporters’ questions. “Let’s talk about pigeons,” he said. He and his associates took a cab to the union headquarters where the alleged beating of Mr. Baron occurred yesterday. Today, as last night, Mr. Baron was guarded by two U.S. deputy marshals, whose protection he requested. “If anything happens to me,” Mr. Baron said today, “at least it will be publicly known who my enemies are.” Regarding the charges by the four Teamsters that he had struck the first blow, Mr. Baron commented that it would be “absolute suicide” for any of the Teamster employees to testify against Mr. Hoffa.

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