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February 9, 2024 2 mins

From the Salem Witch Trials to O.J. Simpson, trials have always revealed hidden truths about our society. History on Trial will dig into these cases, focusing on the real people behind the headlines, and the powerful cultural contexts that shaped the verdicts. We’ll dive deep into the grimy underworld of sports betting with the 1919 Black Sox Scandal, investigate mid-century Soviet espionage through the cases of Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs, and explore the scandalous sex lives of Victorian preachers via the adultery trial of Henry Ward Beecher. Fans of true crime, legal dramas, and history alike will be captivated by the unbelievable true cases that played out in the courtrooms of history.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:03):
In July eighteen eighty one, a man walked into a
train station, pulled out a gun, and shot the president
of the United States, President James Garfield didn't die right away.
For more than two months, he lingered between life and death,
eventually dying in September eighteen eighty one. The American public

was a heartbroken and furious. They called for Garfield's assassin,
a man named Charles Getteau, to be punished, to be
thrown to wild dogs, to be burned alive, to be
shot like he had shot Garfield. But as the government
began to prepare for Getou's trial, a problem emerged. Getaux,

many medical experts believed, was insane. If this was the case,
was he responsible for his actions? And if he wasn't responsible,
how could the public get the closure or the vengeance
that they longed for. In the end, many wondered could
the justice system truly deliver justice in a case like this?

This was the question at the heart of Getou's trial.
The country had never seen a trial like it. The
crime was so great, the evidence was so compelling, and
yet the defendant was so troubled, telling the court that
God had told him to kill Garfield. Americans watched with

bated breath as Getou's trial unfolded in the fall of
eighteen eighty one, each moment more shocking than the last.
Would Getou be set free, would Garfield be avenged? What
would the verdict mean for the country. Though Getou's trial
was extraordinary, it wasn't unique. Throughout American history, important trials

have always raised questions about good and evil, about truth
and justice, and about who we are as a nation.
My name is Mira Hayward, and I'll be diving into
the stories of these trials in my new podcast, History
on Trial. Every episode will cover a different trial from

American history, revealing the real people behind the headlines, and
examining how the legal battles of the past have shaped
our present. To hear these astonishing trial stories, listen and
subscribe to History on Trial, out February eighth, on the
iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your

favorite shows.
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