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Today in Legal History: Sirhan Convicted, Connally Acquitted


On this day in 1969, Sirhan Sirhan was convicted of murdering former U.S. attorney general Robert F. Kennedy, by shooting him during a Los Angeles campaign stop on June 5, 1968. Kennedy died the next day. The crime may have changed the course of modern history: Kennedy had just won the Democratic primary in California, and planned to end the Vietnam War if elected president. Initially sentenced to death, Sirhan is now serving a life prison term. For more information about Kennedy, who was the brother of former President John F. Kennedy, see this Public Broadcasting Service page.

On this day in 1975, lawyer John Connally was acquitted of having taken a $10,000 bribe from dairy lobbyists seeking so-called price supports for milk from the Republican administration, while Connally was serving as Treasury secretary under President Richard M. Nixon. A former Democrat who had previously served in President John F. Kennedy’s cabinet and was wounded by gunfire when the president was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963, Connally went on to make an unsuccessful campaign for the presidency himself after the acquittal. He died in 1993. For more information, see this 1975 Time magazine article.

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