Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were arrested in July of 1950, on charges of conspiracy to violate the Espionage Act of 1917. The trial, and subsequent conviction of the Rosenbergs in 1951, led to one of the most controversial sentences to ever be handed down in the United States. Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were sentenced to death for giving the "secret of the atomic bomb" to the Soviet Union. The two main witnesses for the prosecution were David Greenglass, Ethel's brother and a GI mechanic at Albequerque New Mexico base where plans were allegedly copies, and Harry Gold, a supposed go-between for the Rosenbergs and Klaus Fuchs, the scientist who admitted to turning sketches of the atomic bomb over to the Soviets.
The Rosenbergs attorneys, Emanuel and Alexander Bloch, fought the convictions for the next two years. They brought numerous motions before several judges to open a new trial, but all of them failed. Finally, on June 21, 1953, after all of their avenues had been taken away, the Rosenbergs were put to death by the electric chair at the Sing Sing death house in Ossining, NY.
The following books are excellent referrences to garner more detailed information regarding the Rosenbergs, their trial, and the imterpretations of scholars of this trial.
The Rosenberg Letters, New York, Garland Publishing, 1994, 709p.
Meerpool, Robert and Michael, We Are Your Sons, Urban, University of Illinois Press, 1986, 470p.
Nizer, Louis, The Implosion Conspiracy, New York, Doubleday & Co., 1973, 495p.
Schneir, Walter and Miriam, Invitation to an Inquest, New York, Pantheon Books, 1983, 522p.
Radosh, Ronald, The Rosenberg File, New York, Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1983, 608p.