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Sunday 15 December 2019

1961: When Nazi criminal Adolf Eichmann faced the cameras

Adolf Eichmann
Adolf Eichmann
OJ Simpson

Joe O’Shea

High-profile criminal trials, televised live from the courtroom may seem like a modern invention, but the first was the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Israel in 1961.

Eichmann, left, was captured by Mossad agents in Argentina in 1961, smuggled back to Israel and put on trial for crimes related to the holocaust. The Israelis wanted the world to watch and placed cameras in the court. A live TV feed went out nationally and film was flown to the US every day for transmission. Eichmann was found guilty and the death sentence was carried out in 1962.

In 1995, the world watched as OJ Simpson, right, the pro-footballer turned actor, went on trial in Los Angeles for the murder of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. One of the most dramatic moments came when Simpson apparently could not fit the blood-stained glove said to be worn by the murderer on to his hand.

His defence attorney, Johnnie Cochran, famously told the jury; "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit."

In 2012, the mass-murderer Anders Breivik, right, went on trial in Norway after admitting to the murder of 77 people the year before. The judges allowed limited court footage to be shown on TV but the full trial tapes, which included graphic testimony of how his victims, many of them young teenagers, died, have been sealed for at least 25 years.

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