On this day, Dec. 23, in 1959, rock 'n' roll pioneer Chuck Berry was arrested on charges of violating the Mann Act for transporting a 14-year-old girl across state lines for "immoral purposes."
Berry, with such hits as "Maybellene," "Roll Over Beethoven" and "Johnny B. Goode," contended that he brought the girl to Missouri for a legitimate job at his nightclub.
The Mann Act, passed by Congress in 1910, was primarily aimed at curbing organized prostitution.
Berry was convicted and was sentenced to five years in prison.
He appealed, arguing that the judge made racist comments, and received a new trial. Berry was convicted, and served almost two years in prison.
Berry, now 86, was one of the first musicians elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
- Scott McCabe