Breaking News Bar
updated: 8/27/2013 8:23 AM

President Ford recalls Fromme assassination attempt in video

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • President Gerald Ford is shielded by the Secret Service after an assassination attempt by Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme. President Ford had spoken at a "Host Breakfast," and was walking to California's state Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. Almost 38 years after the assassination attempt, a federal judge has allowed the release of a videotaped testimony given by Ford, that was later used in Fromme's trial. Fromme, a devoted follower of the infamous Charles Manson, wearing a red robe, stepped out from behind a tree and pointed a loaded pistol at the President.

      President Gerald Ford is shielded by the Secret Service after an assassination attempt by Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme. President Ford had spoken at a "Host Breakfast," and was walking to California's state Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. Almost 38 years after the assassination attempt, a federal judge has allowed the release of a videotaped testimony given by Ford, that was later used in Fromme's trial. Fromme, a devoted follower of the infamous Charles Manson, wearing a red robe, stepped out from behind a tree and pointed a loaded pistol at the President.
    Associated Press/September 1975-

 
Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Newly released footage from the trial of Charles Manson disciple Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme shows President Gerald Ford calmly and carefully recalling the attempted assassination in the videotaped testimony.

The roughly 20-minute interview taped in Washington was released Monday by a federal court as the result of a motion filed by a local historical group.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

The former president recalled seeing a hand holding a large handgun slipping through a crowd at a Sacramento park before a Secret Service agent lunged at Fromme.

In the tape, Ford gestures gently with his hands and sips water as he answers questions from a lawyer about what began as a routine morning in September 1975, before Fromme pushed through a crowd on the street, drew a semi-automatic pistol and pointed it at Ford.

The gun wasn't fired, and Ford wasn't hurt.

In the taped testimony posted online by The Sacramento Bee, Ford recalls seeing a "weathered" woman in a brightly colored dress as he walked toward the building, where he planned to meet with the governor.

She "appeared to want to either shake hands or speak, or at least wanted to get closer to me," Ford says.

He then saw a large gun coming through the crowd of well-wishers. But when asked if he saw the face of who was holding it, he answered, "No, I did not."

The gun was about 2 feet away from him, Ford said.

"It was simply the hand with the weapon in it, at a height between my knee and my waist, approximately," Ford said. He then described a frantic moment when a security agent seized the suspect and Ford was rushed away.

Fromme was sentenced under a law covering assaults on U.S. presidents. She was released from prison in 2009.

The tape, which represents a historical footnote in the widely publicized case, had been sealed since the case and was largely forgotten in the years since. It was released as a result of a motion filed by the Eastern District Historical Society, a nonprofit that seeks to preserve the history of the federal court based in Sacramento.

The case was the first in history featuring oral testimony from a sitting president in a criminal trial.

Fromme received her nickname from Manson's "family" because of her voice. She was never implicated in the 1969 murders of actress Sharon Tate and eight others, for which Manson is serving a life term in California.

Ford died at his Southern California home on Dec. 26, 2006. He was 93.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here