William J. Burns

Detective William J. Burns was the lead investigator into the Los Angeles Times bombing and he was a star witness during Darrow's bribery trials. Rogers and Darrow argued frequently about the strategy to use against Burns. Darrow insisted on cross-examining Burns himself but he soon had to turn it over to Rogers. Rogers went after Burns with such vehemence that they nearly got into a fight on several occasions. Rogers goaded Burns by implying the private detective profession was the lowest form of employment. At one point, Rogers, still in his seat and keeping his back to the judge, quietly remarked (although loudly enough for the jury to hear) that Burns was known to carry a sword cane and that Burns was a "suborner of perjury." Burns informed the judge what Rogers had said about the sword cane, which Rogers denied. Burns then told the judge about the perjury remark. At this point, Rogers leapt up and walked towards Burns and said, "I make it again, sir; and do not take it back." Both men were enraged at this point and the judge called for order and fined each twenty-five dollars. This would equal over $500 in 2009. The cross-examination of Burns went on for days with numerous heated moments. At one point, Rogers had so infuriated Burns that the detective was "purple-faced" with rage and looked ready to attack Rogers, whereupon Rogers calmly asked the judge for protection from the witness who he had heard carried a gun in addition to a sword.