In January 1893, the planters staged an uprising to overthrow the Queen. At the same time, they appealed to the United States armed forces for protection. Without Presidential approval, marines stormed the islands, and the American minister to the islands raised the stars and stripes in Honolulu . The Queen was forced to abdicate, and the matter was left for Washington politicians to settle. By this time, Grover Cleveland had been inaugurated President. Cleveland was an outspoken anti-imperialist and thought Americans had acted shamefully in Hawaii. He withdrew the annexation treaty from the Senate and ordered an investigation into potential wrongdoings. Cleveland aimed to restore Liliuokalani to her throne, but American public sentiment strongly favored annexation.
The Scotts’ lawyers botched the trial by calling the wrong witness from Fort Snelling, one Samuel Russell. He testified that, while Dred Scott had been hired out to his wife, he had no knowledge of Irene Emerson’s ownership of the Scotts. As a result, the jury returned a verdict for Irene Emerson. As historian Don E. Fehrenbacher later wrote, ‘The decision had the absurd effect of allowing Mrs. Emerson to keep her slaves simply because no one had proved that they were her slaves.’ The Scotts’ attorneys moved for a new trial, arguing that they had been surprised by Russell’s testimony. Judge Hamilton granted the motion for retrial.