Sacco and Vanzetti each offered evidence of an alibi. Sacco testified that on April 15, 1920, he had taken the day off from work and traveled to Boston to request a passport from the Italian consulate. Several witnesses testified that they saw Sacco en route to Boston or in Boston . Sacco also offered the photo that he attempted to use to obtain the passport. An official from the consulate testified that he rejected the photo because of its large size; that its size made it memorable; and that while discussing the photo with other members of the consulate, he clearly observed the date on a large calendar.
Vanzetti testified that he was peddling fish in Plymouth on April 15, 1920. Several witnesses corroborated Vanzetti's testimony.
Consciousness of Guilt
When arrested, Sacco and Vanzetti lied to the police. For instance, they denied associating with anarchist Buda and denied visiting the garage.
The prosecution claimed that Sacco and Vanzetti lied to deny involvement in the robbery and murders, and that these lies indicated their "consciousness of guilt."
The defendants, who were not told they were arrested for murder and robbery, stated that they lied to protect themselves and their friends from punishment because they were aliens and radicals. Fellow anarchist Andrea Salsedo had died the day before their arrest while in police custody. Sacco and Vanzetti feared that Salsedo had divulged the names of fellow anarchists.
Sacco and Vanzetti Explain Their Untruthful Responses
Redirect Examination of Vanzetti:
Question: Did either Chief Stewart at the Brockton police station or Mr. Katzmann tell you that you were suspected of robberies and murder?
Question: What did you understand, in view of the questions asked of you, what did you understand you were being detained for at the Brockton police station?
Vanzetti: I understand they arrested me for a political matter . . . [b]ecause I was asked if I am a Socialist, if I am I.W.W. [Industrial Workers of the World], if I am a Communist, if I am a Radical.
Direct Examination of Sacco:
Question: As a result of questions that were asked of you by Chief [Stewart], did you form any opinion as to why you were apprehended the night of May 5th?
Answer: No, sir.
Question: You were not informed as to what the charge was?
Answer: I thought it was a Radical charge.