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Crown v. John Peter Zenger

John Peter Zenger (1697–1746), a printer in colonial New York, was accused of seditious libel for printing newspaper articles critical of Colonial Governor William Cosby. During the trial, Zenger’s lawyer acknowledged that his client had printed the articles but asked the jury for a verdict of not guilty, arguing that this case “may in its consequence affect every free man that lives under a British government on the main of America.” Against the judge’s instructions to decide only the question of facts, the jury found Zenger not guilty.
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