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On October 17, 1931, notorious mobster Al Capone was convicted for tax evasion and sent to prison. He was sentenced to 11 years.
Capone had attempted to bargain with Judge James H. Wilkerson. He had hoped to offer a guilty plea in exchange for leniency, but Wilkerson refused. Capone had also attempted to bribe jury members, a move that led Wilkerson to switch the tainted jurors out.
“Capone grinned as though he felt he had gotten off easily,” reads the New York Times report on the trial. “He kept grinning at all and sundry in the courtroom, his bulky figure in a screaming green suit (one of the $135 ones) drawing all eyes toward him.”
Capone at the time had been known as an unforgiving criminal who took out his competition with vindictive violence. A report described him as having “undisputed control of all the illegal sources of revenue in the city and its suburbs.” He had used his widespread influence as a Chicago figurehead to land him short prison sentences in cushy conditions prior to this conviction. He was subject to much more scrutiny with this second incarceration and was constantly and closely guarded.
After his release in 1939, Capone was unable to resume his mob practices due to his failing health. He died in 1947.
[Photo: Getty Images]