Metro Weekly

Joe McCarthy, Co-Conspirators On Trial

Mattachine Society of Washington charging three senators in mock trial

The newly resurgent Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C., will present a ”mock trial” pursuit of criminal conspiracy and blackmail charges against deceased U.S. Sens. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.), Styles Bridges (R-N.H.) and Herman Welker (R-Idaho) for their alleged roles in the 1954 suicide of U.S. Sen. Lester Hunt (D-Wyo.), who committed suicide after his son was arrested for homosexual ”solicitation” in D.C.’s Lafayette Park.

The mock-trial presentation is based on a new biography of Hunt, Dying for the Sins of Joe McCarthy – The Suicide of Wyoming Senator Lester Hunt, written by Rodger McDaniel and released in March.

”What these men did to Lester Hunt was not just sharp-elbowed politics,” Charles Francis, president of Washington’s Mattachine Society, said in a statement on the group’s website announcing the trial. ”This is the true story of a long covered-up criminal conspiracy to blackmail a sitting U.S. Senator and take over the leadership of the United States Senate. It is time for this conspiracy to go before a jury – even in a mock trial – in Washington, D.C.”

Several prominent political, judicial and community leaders will portray principals in the mock trial. Retired Wyoming Supreme Court Justice Michael Golden will play the role of presiding judge. Former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) will address the court. Trevor Potter, the Washington attorney behind the Colbert Super PAC, will play the part of the prosecuting attorney, and attorney Mindy Daniels will play to role of the defense attorney. Reporter Jamie Kirchick will play ”Washington Merry-Go-Round” columnist Drew Pearson. Robert Raben, longtime counsel to U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), will be the jury foreman. Verizon government affairs executive Ed Senn will play Sen. McCarthy. Richard Rosendall, president of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C., and Mattachine’s secretary, will play police inspector Roy Blick of the vice squad.

The mock trial of Sens. McCarthy, Bridges and Welker will be held Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 7:30 p.m., at All Souls Unitarian Church, 1500 Harvard St. NW.

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at