May 31, 1987 – A Cessna Lands In Red Square – An Air Of Dirty Laundry In Public – End Of A Two-Year Nightmare
May 31, 1987 – the last day of a perplexing month in 1987, and the last haywire week of May, 30 years ago.
A week you needed a scorecard and interpreter to figure out. Starting with the end of a 2 1/2 year legal nightmare for Raymond Donovan. The week began with Donovan finally seeing the light of day. After an odyssey that began in 1984 when it was announced that a Grand jury in the Bronx was investigating charges that Donovan, his construction company and seven of its executives had tried to defraud New York City’s Transit Authority out of more than $7 million. The formal indictment came a month later. The charges forced former Secretary of Labor Donovan to resign in March of 1985 ahead of the start of the trial, which ended on Monday of this week in May, when the jury brought in a verdict of non guilty on all counts. Donovan was clear of charges, now he was looking to get his reputation back.
In other news – warring factions within the PTL Ministry between Jerry Falwell and disgraced televangelist Jim Bakker. Bakker accused Falwell of hijacking the ministry and taking over the PTL under false pretenses. Falwell fired back with a barrage of lurid details over Bakker’s sexual peccadilloes with Jessica Hahn as well as Bakker’s associates and hints of homosexual flings by Bakker and various Bakker associates. Even The Enquirer blushed.
And in Russia – somehow, a German teenager managed to fly his single-engine Cessna through 400 miles of Soviet Airspace and land in the middle of Red Square. The action brought a prompt arrest of Mathias Rust, the teenager at the controls of the Cessna, and the even prompter firing of the Soviet Air Defense Minister who should have been paying attention to that small blip on the radar.
And that’s just a tiny sample of what went on, this crazy week ending May 31st in 1987, as reported by ABC Radio’s World News This Week.