On August 28, 1896, in the midst of a tight campaign for governor between John Lind, the Democratic-Populist candidate, and David M. Clough, the Republican incumbent, the St. Paul Dispatch published an article that began:
"No one in New Ulm has ever made any pretense of denying the fact that John Lind has been an avowed agnostic, materialist, infidel, or whatever name may be used to designate a person who does not believe in the divine origin of the bible or the efficacy of the Christian religion."
These charges dogged Lind the remaining nine weeks of the campaign. He lost the election in November 1896, and attributed it to the Dispatch's libel.
Five weeks after the election, Lind brought a libel suit against the Dispatch in Ramsey County District Court. The first jury could not reach agreement, while the second was out five hours before returning a sealed verdict at 9 P.M., April 14, 1897.
Newspaper accounts of both trials are posted here.