FNC’s Scandalous series returns tonight with a review of the William Kennedy Smith rape trial

The best documentary series on cable news, Fox News Channel’s Scandalous, is returning for what the Fox News channel is calling the occasional program’s third season. Tonight at 8 and 11 PM ET, and for the next two Sundays, Scandalous: The Trial of William Kennedy Smith will revisit the 1991 rape trial of Smith, the nephew of President John Kennedy and his two brothers, Senators Robert and Ted Kennedy.

Like the first two seasons of Scandalous, which shed considerable new light on the scandals of Bill and Hillary Clinton and Sen. Ted Kennedy at Chappaquiddick, the probe of the celebrated trial of Smith, then a 30-year old medical student, promises to be very interesting. On March 29, 1991, Smith was accused of raping 29-year-old Patricia Bowman at the Kennedy compound in Palm Beach, Florida, after the two met at a trendy bar. Smith had been in the company of his uncle Ted at the bar that evening.

The ten-day trial of Smith that ensued in December 1991 – predating by four years the murder trial of O.J. Simpson – was the first celebrity trial to be covered live wall to wall by the nation’s news media.

William Kennedy Smith on the stand (YouTube screen grab)

As Alan Dershowitz, professor emeritus at Harvard Law School, says in the documentary, “This trial was perfect for TV of course, it had sex, [and] the Kennedys.” In the face of what many observers and officials considered to be overwhelming evidence that a sexual crime had indeed taken place, Smith was acquitted of the charges after the jury deliberated for all of 77 minutes. In one of the clips provided by Fox News, an observer comments that prior to and during the trial, Smith never acted like he would not be acquitted.

According to Fox News:

“Scandalous: The Trial of William Kennedy Smith” takes an extensive look at the rape allegation and revisits the dramatic 10-day trial through interviews with key witnesses, notable reporters and court officials.

The premiere episode, “Balmy Palm Beach,” will focus on the media frenzy surrounding the accusation against Kennedy Smith, then a 30-year-old medical student at Georgetown University. 

The accusation by 29-year-old Patricia Bowman would ultimately lead to a heavily scrutinized rape trial, one of the first nationally-televised trials in which millions of Americans tuned in to watch the dramatic proceedings.

For his part, Smith, now 58 and a medical doctor, has been accused at least twice in recent years – but has not been convicted – of sexual assault. The Smoking Gun published a legal document about a legal case brought by one of Smith’s accusers under the subhead “Six figures settled sex harassment claim by former employee.”

The people responsible for Scandalous deserve major credit for taking on and shedding considerable fresh light on serious stories that have largely been ignored or papered over by the nation’s mainstream media. The fact that the untouchable Kennedy family has been the subject of the last two Scandalous investigations – Chappaquiddick and now William Kennedy Smith – is remarkable.

Meanwhile, as an example of what the rest of the mainstream media is doing, CNN’s highly promoted 2018 six-part series The Kennedys was largely another hagiographic paean to the Establishment’s favorite American political dynasty, the Kennedy family.

For its part, government-supported PBS continues to use a quote in his own words by Sen. Ted Kennedy from his August 12, 1980 “The Dream Shall Never Die” speech to the Democratic National Convention in its on-air program promotions: “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.” Another example of your tax dollars at work.

Peter Barry Chowka writes about politics, media, popular culture, and health care for American Thinker and other publications. Peter’s new Web site is http://peter.media. Follow him on Twitter at @pchowka.

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