Flesher Interview Report

Defense counsel in the Luciano trial had no foreknowledge as to whom the prosecution might call to testify, or for what purpose.  This was due, in part, to a recent change in New York law – the repeal of Code of Criminal Procedure section 271 in February of 1936 – that allowed Dewey to keep secret the identities of all who’d appeared before the grand jury.  That fact, combined with the pre-trial incarceration of nearly a hundred potential witnesses for periods of over three months in the House of Detention, made People v. Charles Luciano, etc. et al. a classic case of “trial by surprise.”

Once the identity of a prosecution witness became known, the defense had to scramble to learn what it could about that witness in order to cross-examine, as was illustrated by the Kornbluth affair and the testimony of Cokey Flo Brown.  So when defense counsel somehow got wind that Genevieve Flesher aka Nancy Presser – a syphilitic prostitute and heroin addict, and the girlfriend of Luciano co-defendant Ralph Liguori – would be testifying for the prosecution, defense investigators sprang into action.

To read their confidential interview report: