March 17, 1994 – A dqy loaded with courts and legalities. Former figure Skater Tonya Harding got the verdict in Portland on this day; No jail time, no more career, pay $160,000 fine and serve three years probation. After pleading guilty to conspiracy in covering up the attack on team mate Nancy Kerrigan, Harding had little in the way remorse, and leaving court she pleaded for privacy. Tonya Harding’s attorney told reporters his client had some soul-searching ahead and was committing herself to a program of professional help and therapy. The Deputy DA wasn’t satisfied with the verdict, maintaining Tonya Harding was guilty from the get-go.
And in California – Officials decided to parole serial rapist Melvin Carter, sending him to remote Modoc County, sending up a storm of protest from residents who questioned why the state would send him to the small community of Alturas. Protests and petitions to Governor Pete Wilson were promised over the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, in the rest of the world: In Israel, the commission investigating the Hebron Mosque Massacre heard from soldiers who were posted inside and outside the mosque who suggested the gunman may have had accomplices when he attacked dozens of worshipers. A separate Palestinian commission heard from witnesses who said soldiers had fired at panic-stricken Arabs as they tried to flee the mosque. The incident served to dislodge peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, and the U.S. was attempting to put it back on track while the investigations were going on.
Egypt executed two soldiers on this day, who were found guilty for plotting to kill President Mubarak. Nine men were convicted in another anti-government plot and also condemned to the firing squad.
In France, a 78 year old man was on trial for executing 7 Jews in 1944. The trial centered around Paul Touvier, Nazi-collaborator and right hand man to French Gestapo leader Klaus Barbie during the war. Touvier’s Nazi paramilitary force committed countless atrocities but was on trial for just one incident where he was accused of executing 7 jews in reprisal for the killing of a pro-Nazi Minister. His defense was planning on admitting the incident, but adding Touvier was very much like Oskar Schindler, who actually saved numerous French Jews from German concentration camps. The court was also scheduled to hear how Touvier hid for decades after receiving a death sentence in a Catholic Monastery. The case was the first time a French collaborator stood trial for crime against humanity. It was sure to trigger some awkward questions about the extent of French collaboration with the Nazis during World War 2.
And in Singapore, an 18 year old American student was facing a flogging for spray painting cars and other “mischief”. The Caning sentence against Michael Fay of Dayton Ohio drew protests from President Clinton, but the strict sentence was slated to be carried out, and Michael Fay was sitting in a Psychiatric Ward, awaiting punishment.
And that’s a little of what went on, this rather litigious St.Patrick’s Day in 1994, as presented by The CBS World News Roundup.