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A confusing and disturbing day in history, this December 23rd in 1988. With details about PanAm Flight 103, which exploded mid-air over Lockerbie Scotland emerging, more questions than answers were being raised. Claims the U.S. government was warned as early as 16 days before by a terrorist group of a bomb on board the flight, but were largely kept quiet because, as a State Department Spokesperson said; “The public isn’t told because there are too many threats, and it’s U.S. Policy not to tell the public”. And even President Reagan chimed in; “I think all the precautions that could be taken, were taken with regard to warning the airline and all. But, if you stop to think about it; such a public statement with nothing more to go on than an anonymous telephone call; you’d literally have closed down all the air traffic in the world”.
Cold comfort, but as of this day there was no conclusive evidence as to what brought PanAm Flight 103 down. Speculation of a terrorist bomb was only that, as the investigation was still taking place. But as of this December 23rd there were 160 bodies found in and around the crash site with another 100 still unaccounted for, as well as several Lockerbie residents.
More would be revealed.
Back in the U.S. – the divorce-fixing trial of Bess Myerson was over with Myerson acquitted on all counts. The former TV personality and New York City Commissioner was accused of engaging in a bribery scheme centering around her boyfriend Carl Capasso and former Judge Hortense Gabel over Capasso’s divorce. Prosecution claimed Myerson bribed Gabel by giving Gabel’s daughter a cushy city job. The drama/sideshow, also known as “The Bess Mess” captivated New York for a while, but the jury found Myerson clean and she went free.
Texas District Judge Jack Hampton apologized for what he called a “poor choice of words” in saying he gave a killer a lighter sentence because the victims were “queers”. His remarks prompted outrage from Gay and Civil Liberties groups who demanded his removal from the bench. Most were not satisfied with the apology.
And that’s just a little of what happened on this December 23rd in 1988 as reported by The CBS World News Roundup.