Harman Blennerhassett (1765-1831) was an Englishman of means who came to America in 1796 and settled on an island in the Ohio River where he built an elaborate mansion. He met Aaron Burr in 1805, and his island home soon became a center for Burr's separatist plans to conquer the territory of the United States south of the Ohio River, to be financed with the backing of Blennerhassett. Nothing came of the conspiracy, and the suspicious Virginia militia raided and looted the island in December of 1806. Both men were eventually tried for treason. Never has an American trial produced such an impressive set of key players: The defendant - Aaron Burr, founding father, vice president, and slayer of Alexander Hamilton in their famous duel three years earlier; The trial judge - John Marshall, chief justice of the United States Supreme court (and the most important justice in history); The force behind the prosecution - Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and President of the United States; Defense attorneys - Edmund Randolph and Luther Martin, both delegates to the constitutional convention and among the most prominent men of the day; Prosecutors - Charles Lee, former attorney general, and William Wirt, future presidential candidate.