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Exhibition Drawing Justice: The Art of Courtroom Illustration

Aggie Whelan [Kenny]. Gainsville [sic] 8, 1973. Pastel and charcoal on blue-green paper laid paper. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (045.00.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-51109 © Aggie Kenny
Gift of Tom Girardi

Vietnam Veterans Against the War

Eight members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War argued intended to demonstrate peacefully at the 1972 Republican National Convention but were lured into more violent behavior by government infiltrators. During the trial, two FBI agents were caught using electronic surveillance to listen to a private defense team conversation— perhaps helping the defense, as the veterans were acquitted on August 31, 1973. Aggie Whelan had been sent by CBS to cover the trial. During the pre-trial hearing, Federal Judge Winston Arnow told the court illustrators they were not permitted to draw in his courtroom or from memory. Whelan, though outside the courtroom, sketched anyway and the government found CBS guilty of violating its orders. On appeal, the decision United States of America v. Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc., 497 F.2d 102 (1974) reaffirmed the right of courtroom illustrators to work during trials.