John Peter Zenger was a German printer and journalist in New York City. Zenger printed The New York Weekly Journal. He was accused of libel in 1734 by William Cosby, the royal governor of New York, but the jury acquitted Zenger, who became a symbol for freedom of the press. In 1733, Zenger began printing The New York Weekly Journal, which voiced opinions critical of the colonial governor, William Cosby. On November 17, 1734, on Cosby's orders, the sheriff arrested Zenger. After a grand jury refused to indict him, the Attorney General Richard Bradley charged him with libel in August 1735. Zenger's lawyers, Andrew Hamilton and William Smith, Sr., successfully argued that truth is a defense against charges of libel.John Peter Zenger trial would lead the way for the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, which reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Arrested, Nov 17, 1734
Started, Aug 4, 1735
Federal Hall National Memorial- The monumental trial of John Peter Zenger took place on the historic site where Federal Hall National Memorial now stands.