Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, who was one of Charles Manson’s disciples, is in headlines this week after footage of her trial was released as part of a request from a historical group.
Fromme was arrested in 1975 after approaching then-president Gerald Ford at a Sacramento park and pointing a gun at him. She was quickly subdued by security agents and Ford was unharmed, but the incident was widely covered in the media and made history after Ford took the stand to testify, the first in-office president to ever do so.
On the recording, Ford can be heard talking about how he didn’t see Fromme’s face, but knew there was a woman in a brightly-colored dress approaching him as if she wanted to shake hands.
“It was simply the hand with the weapon in it, at a height between my knee and my waist, approximately,” Ford said.
Three copies of the tape were made; one was given to Ford’s counsel, one was kept for the trial, and the other was destroyed. The tape has been sealed since the trial ended, but a local group called the Eastern District Historical Society recently asked for it to be released as part of the federal court’s history.
Fromme was given a life sentence for the attempted shooting, but was paroled in 2009. She wasn’t the only person to make an attempt on Ford’s life; Sara Jane Moore, who was associated with radical groups, shot at him and missed outside the St. Francis Hotel in 1975. She was given a life sentence but was paroled in 2007.