Videotaped testimony of President Gerald Ford in connection with the 1975 assassination attempt by Manson family member Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme
has surfaced because of a request by a Sacramento-area historical society for access to the material.
The videotape was released Monday by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller. The Eastern District Historical Society, which preserves the history of the Sacramento federal court, filed a motion July 24 for access to it, according to the Sacramento Bee.
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Michael E. Vinding, an attorney and secretary for the historical society, told the Sacramento Bee that the society sought permission to transfer the color videotape to DVD to preserve Ford's 20-minute testimony.
The Sacramento Bee joined the motion a week later, stating "there is an obvious public interest, and historical interest, in the testimony of a president."
Ford provided the testimony in Room 345 of the Old Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House, on Nov. 1, 1975. The attempted assassination took place Sept. 5 of that year.
Fromme's defense attorney John Virga also requested the testimony.
The case was the first in history to feature an oral testimony from a sitting president in a criminal trial, according to the Associated Press.
Fromme was sentenced under a law covering assaults on U.S. presidents. She was released from prison in 2009. Ford died in Southern California at 93 on Dec. 26, 2006.
During the testimony, Ford said he could see Fromme pushing herself through the crowd in Sacramento where he was shaking hands.
Ford said in the testimony that Fromme "appeared to want to either shake hands or speak, or at least wanted to get closer to me."
Ford added that he then saw a large gun coming through the crowd but could not see the face of the person holding it.
"It was simply the hand with the weapon in it, at a height between my knee and my waist, approximately," Ford said on the videotape, according to the Associated Press.
Ford testified that the gun never fired and he was rushed away by Secret Service agents.
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