Al Capone Trial (1931)

Al Capone, head of the most profitable crime syndicate of the Prohibition Era and mastermind of the notorious 1929 "Valentine's Day Massacre,"seemed above the law. In the end, however, Capone would be brought to justice not for murder, extortion, or bootlegging, but for failing to pay his income tax. Credit for his conviction is due less to Elliot Ness and The Untouchables than to the dogged work of Bureau of Revenue investigator Frank Wilson and a clever surprise pulled by a federal judge, James Wilkerson. Al Capone once complained about the bad reputation of his criminal enterprise: "Some call it bootlegging. Some call it racketeering. I call it a business." The lesson of The People vs. Al Capone is that a profitable businessman, no matter how he earns his income, does have to pay his taxes.

Twenty-year-old Al Capone arrived in Chicago in 1919 to help run Johnny Torrio's bootlegging operation. It was Capone's job to keep the competition in line, and he did so with ruthless efficiency. When Torrio left Chicago in 1925, driven out by maiming and death threats, Capone took over the bootlegging operation. Operating from his headquarters at the Hawthorne Inn in Cicero (with its bulletproof shutters on every window), Capone dispatched his enforcers. On April 27, 1925, a five-car motorcade carrying Capone's trigger men swept by members of a rival bootlegging gang as they left a bar and opened fire with machine guns.... Continued