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EPISODES

Find links to listen to episodes, as well as episode transcripts with citations and works referenced. 

In early 1800, Levi Weeks went on trial for the murder of Elma Sands. Rumor had it that Weeks and Sands had been lovers, until something went tragically wrong. But at the trial, where Weeks was defended by Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, a much more complicated story emerged…

In 1874, the most famous preacher in America, Henry Ward Beecher, was publicly accused of adultery. The story became one of the greatest sex scandals of the 19th century, and led to a shocking trial, in which Beecher’s accuser, Theodore Tilton, sued Beecher for ruining his marriage. The trial would reveal just how hard it can be to find answers in a courtroom, especially when a celebrity is involved…

In 1835, Washington D.C. was a city on edge: tensions over race and slavery were nearing a boiling point. District Attorney Francis Scott Key (author of the national anthem!) was tasked with maintaining order in the city. But when Key charged a man named Reuben Crandall with distributing anti-slavery pamphlets, he unwittingly set off an explosive chain of events...

In 1881, President James Garfield was assassinated by a man named Charles Guiteau. The American public, understandably, wanted vengeance. But as the government began to prepare for Guiteau’s trial, a problem emerged: Guiteau, some experts believed, was insane, and might not have been responsible for his actions. Could justice be achieved in a case like this? Guiteau's dramatic trial put that question to the test...

In 1957, California declared war on a tabloid magazine. Confidential magazine was the most powerful gossip magazine in the country, with millions of readers and the ability to make or break stars' careers. Movie studios hated the magazine and politicians worried that it was ruining the country's morals. When California charged Confidential with publishing libel and obscenity, many cheered. But others worried about what this case meant for free speech...

In 1911, a devastating fire raged through the Triangle Waist Company, killing 146. It was one of the worst workplace disasters in American history. Many people blamed the factory's owners, Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, and wanted them to pay. But at Blanck and Harris's manslaughter trial, a shrewd defense attorney and weak worker protection laws ensured that the prosecutors were in for the fight of their life...

In 1970, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover stunned Congress when he announced that anti-war activists planned to kidnap Henry Kissinger and bomb Washington, D.C. But when the Justice Department pursued these activists, a group that came to be known as the Harrisburg Seven, on conspiracy charges, shocking revelations about the FBI's main witness made many wonder if the plot had ever been real to begin with...

In 1874, the father of motion pictures stood trial for murder. Most people know Eadweard Muybridge as a pioneering photographer and inventor whose work sparked the birth of movies. But Muybridge had a dark side: he was once accused on murdering his wife's lover. Would a Western jury, comfortable with the idea of taking justice into one's own hands, let Muybridge get away with it?

In 1945, American journalists in Japan scrambled to identify the legendary "Tokyo Rose," an English-speaking, female broadcaster who had performed in Japanese propaganda radio broadcasts during the war. One woman who seemed to fit the bill was Iva Toguri D'Aquino, an American citizen who worked on the famous radio program "Zero Hour." How had Iva become Tokyo Rose? And were her actions treasonous? This is a two-part series.

Episode 11: Coming Soon

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Episode 12: Coming Soon

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Episode 13: Coming Soon

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