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The George Sweeney Trial in 1806 in Richmond, Virginia was a trial in which George Sweeney, the grand-nephew of George Wythe, one of the founding fathers of the United States, was acquitted of murdering Wythe. Wythe was a distinguished attorney who attended the Philadelphia Convention in 1775 and signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776; in 1806, he died of arsenic poisoning. Before he died, Wythe accused his nephew of murder and changed his will to exclude him. Wythe's black housekeeper provided evidence that George Sweeney had tried to poison Wythe, her son and her, but by law was prohibited from testifying in a criminal case against a white man. Sweeney was tried and found not guilty. The case is used as an example of how racism in early American law resulted in an acquittal.

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  • George Sweeney Trial
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  • The George Sweeney Trial in 1806 in Richmond, Virginia was a trial in which George Sweeney, the grand-nephew of George Wythe, one of the founding fathers of the United States, was acquitted of murdering Wythe. Wythe was a distinguished attorney who attended the Philadelphia Convention in 1775 and signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776; in 1806, he died of arsenic poisoning. Before he died, Wythe accused his nephew of murder and changed his will to exclude him. Wythe's black housekeeper provided evidence that George Sweeney had tried to poison Wythe, her son and her, but by law was prohibited from testifying in a criminal case against a white man. Sweeney was tried and found not guilty. The case is used as an example of how racism in early American law resulted in an acquittal.
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  • The George Sweeney Trial in 1806 in Richmond, Virginia was a trial in which George Sweeney, the grand-nephew of George Wythe, one of the founding fathers of the United States, was acquitted of murdering Wythe. Wythe was a distinguished attorney who attended the Philadelphia Convention in 1775 and signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776; in 1806, he died of arsenic poisoning. Before he died, Wythe accused his nephew of murder and changed his will to exclude him. Wythe's black housekeeper provided evidence that George Sweeney had tried to poison Wythe, her son and her, but by law was prohibited from testifying in a criminal case against a white man. Sweeney was tried and found not guilty. The case is used as an example of how racism in early American law resulted in an acquittal.
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