[Above: Here is a New York Times newspaper article involing Martin Monti's trial.]
High Army Officials Study Treason Charge by Drew Pearson
'The most bizarre charge of American treason in the history of the war is gradually unfolding before investigators of the War and Justice Departments. Douglas Chandler who broadcast against his country from Germany, has been given a life sentence. (He died in jail). Ezra Pound, the bearded poet who broadcast from Italy, has been locked in the St. Elizabeths booby hatch. Axis Sally is still in the custody of the United States Army in Germany.
But meanwhile Lt. Martin James Monti of St. Louis, who did a sort of Rudolf Hess in reverse, landing behind enemy lines in Italy and becoming a member of the elite Nazi SS Corps, is still in the United States Army. His case, for some strange reason, has been bottled up in the War and Justice Departments for months. But now, two years after the war, it is finally being reviewed by highest officials.
Army records show that Lieut. Monti, an Air Corps flier, deserted the United States Air Corps 126th Replacement Battalion, Karachi, India, on October 2, 1944, hitch?hiking by plane to Italy. He then stole a P?38 (a new L?5 yet unknown to the Germans) fighter plane, October 13, 1944 at Pomigliano and came down behind enemy lines. When later court martialed, Monti claimed that he was shot down. However, investigation after the court?martial showed that he landed voluntarily, and when captured by the Germans told them that he was fighting on the wrong side of the war and wanted to join them.
The Germans naturally were suspicious. They figured Monti was a spy. However he became so earnest in his protestations that he wanted to fight on the Nazi side that eventually he was taken into their councils. Monti became part of several radio conference broadcasts and at one time conducted a tour of news?papermen through the territory that the Nazis had just recaptured from the Russians. ...Most amazing development however was that eventually Monti enlisted in the elite Nazi SS Corps, made up of Hitler's most fanatical fighting men.
When finally apprehended by the United States Army, Monti was on a train with other German troops in the Uniform of the SS Corps. He claimed that he had stolen the uniform and was using it with the help of the Italian underground to escape from Italy. He also claimed that he had been engaged in getting intelligence for the United States Army.
However, subsequent investigation showed that Monti had not used the SS uniform as a means of escape, but had formally taken the oath as an SS Officer early in 1945.
Monti was court martialed by the United States Army on a charge of being AWOL ans stealing an airplane. For the latter he was given 15 years. No charge of treason was brought against him. The Army at the time was not able to make a thorough probe of Monti's operations behind enemy lines.
However, the most interesting phase of the Monti treason case is that his 15?year sentence later was reduced by the Army to nothing, provided he would reenlist in the Army as a private. This he did on February 11, 1946. Who persuaded the Army to make this drastic reduction is not known. However, it is important, for this agreement may prevent the Army from trying Monti a second time.
Later, when Justice Department lawyers began probing other treason cases in Germany, the activities of Lieutenant Monti turned up. After months of mysterious pigeon holing, the Justice Department is now examining the case. If the Army decides it cannot try Monti again, Justice Department officials say they expect to move in.