William A. Roberts Papers, 1942-1956


On March 2, 1951, Drew Pearson, newspaper columnist and radio commentator, filed a multi-million dollar civil suit against Senator Joseph R. McCarthy,, Fulton Lewis, Jr., the Washington Times-Herald, Edward K. Nellor, George Waters, Donald Surine, Morris A. Bealle, Westbrook Pegler, and J. B. Mathews on four counts:

  1. He charged McCarthy with assault and battery, deliberately planned and intended to physically injure the Plaintiff.
  2. He charged McCarthy with libelous statements concerning the Plaintiff, intended to discredit Pearson personally and professionally.
  3. He charged all the Defendants with a conspiracy to hold the Plaintiff up to public scorn and ridicule for the purpose of damaging his business and preventing sale of his product.
  4. He charged all the Defendants with libelous and slanderous statements concerning the Plaintiff's character, with the intention of injuring his reputation.

As his attorneys, Pearson employed the law firm of Roberts and McInnis, Washington, D.C., which at that time had a staff of sixteen. Col. William A. Roberts often took cases considered to be of “public interest,” and served as the senior attorney in Pearson's suit.