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June 26, 1952: Marilyn Monroe in court.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Nelson Tiffany / Mirror-News

June 26, 1952: Letter entered into evidence during trial against Jerry Karpman and Morrie Kaplan, who tried to sell "indecent" photos of young women including Marilyn Monroe. Monroe testified she never knew the two men, never posed for them and never wrote the note. Karpmen and Kaplan were convicted.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times / Los Angeles Times

June 26, 1952: Marilyn Monroe posing for photographers during break in trial.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

June 26, 1952: Marilyn Monroe poses for photographers during trial against Jerry Karpman and Morrie Kaplan.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

June 26, 1952: Marilyn Monroe during trial against two men who tried to sell "indecent" photos of young women including Marilyn Monroe.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

June 26, 1956: Photo of Marilyn Monroe taken during trial against two men convicted of using her name in nude-photo sales.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ray Graham / Los Angeles Times

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Marilyn Monroe ‘Art’ photo sellers convicted

June 26, 1952: Marilyn Monroe poses for photographers during trial against Jerry Karpman and Morrie Kaplan.

The two men tried to sell “indecent” photos of young women including Marilyn Monroe.

A story in the June 27, 1952 Los Angeles Times explained:

After actress Marilyn Monroe indignantly denied that she had penned come-on letters to promote the sale of “art studies” advertised as featuring her, two men who  traded on her name were found guilty yesterday on five of nine misdemeanor charges against them.

Municipal Judge Kenneth L. Holaday returned the guilty verdict against Jerry Karpman, 46, photographer, and Morrie Kaplan, 32, salesman, after the onetime calendar girl denied she had every met them.

Miss Monroe examined some of the prosecution evidence, including handwritten letters signed with her name. The letters bore a printed return address, also bearing her name.

One of them read in part:

“A short time ago two friends of mine and myself got together and took some pictures in almost every pose imaginable…I feel that these pictures…are worth more than the price I have found ordinary pictures are selling for.

On the witness stand Miss Monroe denied she had ever posed for any kind of pictures for them or that she had used or authorized use of her name in efforts to sell the objectionable “art” material.

The actress was rushed from 20th Century-Fox studio, where she is working on a picture, by a coterie of press agents and managers. She said her turn name is Norma Jeane Dougherty and that she took her professional name when signed by the studio six years ago.

Defense Atty. William J. F. Brown pried into her “right” to the Monroe name and demanded to know if she had ever heard of President James Monroe.

“This is completely immaterial,” protested Dep. City Atty. William E. Still.

The actress was excused after 10 minutes of testimony.

The defendants were convicted on charges of sending come-on letters in efforts to sell lewd photographs purportedly made of Miss Monroe, Marilyn Miller and Marilyn Martin; of unlawfully using Miss Monroe’s name “for the purpose of selling nude and indecent pictures represented to have been posed by Marilyn Monroe” and of selling without a State license.

Judge Holaday ordered the men back July 17 for probation report and sentence. They are free on bail.

The July 18, 1952 Los Angeles Times reported that “Karpman got 30 days in City Jail and Kaplan 60 days and each was placed on two years’ probation.”

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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