American Scandal

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The Kidnapping of Patty Hearst | Free Will | 4

The Kidnapping of Patty Hearst | Free Will | 4

Tue, 22 Nov 2022 08:01

Patricia Hearst reunites with her family. Federal prosecutors navigate a trial that's become a national sensation.

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Hey, prime members, you can listen to American scandal ad-free on Amazon Music, download the app today. A listener note, this episode contains descriptions of violence and references to sexual assault. It may not be suitable for a younger audience. It's September 18, 1975, in a jail in Northern California. Patricia Hearst is curled up in bed in a small concrete cell. The space is no more than 6 feet wide and 9 feet long. In one corner is a combined toilet and sink and at the other end are a set of steel bars. Hearst rolls over, trying to make sense of everything that's happened today. It was only a few hours ago that FBI agents stormed into her apartment, guns drawn, and placed her under arrest for robbing a bank. The encounter with armed law enforcement left Hearst feeling shaken. But the day took an even more surreal turn when Hearst and the agents arrived at the jailhouse and found a crowd of reporters waiting for her. Hearst greeted them with a raised fist and during her booking she identified herself as Tanya, her adopted name in the Symbianese Liberation Army. She even gave her occupation as Irvin Guerilla. All the radical posturing earned a few raised eyebrows. Apparently people were expecting that after getting arrested, Hearst would stop playing the part of political radical. But Hearst's allegiance to the SLA is complicated. She was of course a kidnapping victim and she had been held captive in a dark closet and her life threatened. But Hearst grew convinced her family had given up on her. And while living in isolation with the SLA, Hearst publicly gave up on her family. She made recordings of herself condemning her mother and father for their bourgeois lifestyle and calling out the media and labeling her a victim. She was fully aware that the FBI was leading a manhunt calling her a criminal and trying to place her under arrest. So at the same time that it felt like her world was collapsing, that her family had abandoned her. The members of the SLA started to become something like a new family, even if it was dysfunctional. The radical political group had become her entire world, offering protection, comradery and a sense of daily ritual. But now, Hearst is alone once again. The majority of the members of the SLA died after a shootout with the police. The group is in tatters after she and the remaining members hopped scotched around the country trying to find refuge. And Hearst was dealt the final blow only hours ago when federal agents stormed her apartment and placed her in handcuffs. Hearst is lying on her side, trying to get comfortable when she hears a pair of heavy boots coming down the hallway. Instinctively, Hearst tenses up. Since QM2May, the fallen leader of the SLA, always warned what would happen if they were brought to jail. He promised that the SLA would be brutalized and tortured. Hearst believed every word of that terrifying message. And as these footsteps get closer, she begins bracing for violence. The footsteps stop outside her cell and Hearst looks up to see a deputy with a blank expression. It takes out a key and unlocks the cell door. Alright, come on, Miss Hearst. You've got guests. Hearst dares suspiciously at the deputy, waiting for his next move. Miss Hearst, come on. We don't have all night. Hearst gets up, still eyeing the deputy. He places a pair of handcuffs on her wrists. And then he leads Hearst down a dark hallway, past rows of other jail cells, and inmates who stand banging against their cell doors and shouting out. Hearst swallows as she gets closer and closer to what she is sure will be a beating. She's trained for this moment, but still she is afraid. A moment later, Hearst and the deputy arrive in front of a door. Hearst is nearly trembling now in fearful anticipation of what comes next. But when the deputy turns the knob and the door opens, Hearst freezes in surprise. In front of her are her mother and father, and her two younger sisters, family members she hasn't seen in over a year and a half. Catherine Hearst, Patricia's mother, steps forward, cradling a dozen yellow roses. Oh, Patty Sweetheart. Ah, I'm so thrilled to know you're safe. And you look? Well, your hair is quite different. Unconsciously, Patricia touches her hair, which she boxed died red a few weeks ago. You don't like it. Well, you've been using various disguises. I'm... I'm... Let's change the subject. Tell me about how they're treating you here. Do you share a cell? No, they have me alone. Said it's for my own safety, but that doesn't make sense. Me and the other prisoners, we are in this struggle together. Ah, of course. Well, here, Patty, these roses are for you to brighten up your space. Well, thank you. No, don't thank me. They're from the reporters who've been visiting the house. They were so happy to hear this was all coming to an end. Catherine holds out the roses, but Patricia doesn't move to take them. After all the outrageous coverage, all the sensational headlines and baseless accusations, now reporters are sending her flowers? Sweetheart, Patty, what's wrong? The flowers are nice, but what is it? Are they not treating you well here? No, nothing bad has happened so far. What do you mean so far? Patricia pauses. Her family, with their mansion and summers at the Hearst Castle, could never understand the wide gulf that now stands between them. The reality of prison, all the lessons Patricia learned from the SLA about oppression and sexism and racism in America. Mother, it's nothing you wouldn't understand. Patricia, whatever's on your mind, we will understand. No, don't worry, mother. I'll be fine. I didn't mean anything. This is all very new. Yes, and it won't be permanent. We'll see to it that you get out of here soon. Your father's hiring the best attorney money can buy. The deputy signals it's time to wrap up. And don't you worry, Patty. We'll get you out of here. And then we'll put all of this behind us. I promise. A minute later, Patricia Hearst is escorted back to herself. As she walks down the hallway, she gazes at the other prisoners, women who were locked up and promptly forgotten about. Hearst knows her mother has fantasies that she'll beat the charges and everyone will soon get back to their old lives. But it is a fantasy. Hearst is now one of the oppressed and inmate in America's criminal justice system. And she's about to face a trial that'll be as much about political theater as any real form of justice. American scandal is sponsored by Total Wine and More. The leaves are turning, temperatures are falling. And while many will be celebrating with pumpkin spice, there are a lot of other flavors of the season. Total Wine has them. Find a new favorite single barrel bourbon, some warm orange bitters, a rich deep Italian vermouth to make the world's best fall flavored Manhattan. And then buy another bottle as the perfect holiday gift, all with the confidence of knowing you found something special for the lowest price. Herbside pickup and delivery available in most areas visit to learn more. Spirits not sold in Virginia and North Carolina. Drink responsibly. Be 21. American scandal is sponsored by Skylight Frames. Vacation photos, first day of school, birthday parties. My parents clamor for shots like these. And I found a smart way to share these photos with Skylight Frame. Skylight is a touch screen photo frame you can update by email from anywhere. Set up takes 60 seconds. Plug in, connect to wireless, then begin emailing photos. And they'll pop up in seconds. Or pre-load pictures. So it comes ready to delight right out of the box. Now you can get $15 off your purchase of a Skylight Frame when you go to and enter code scandal. $15 off your purchase at code scandal. That's sky, l-i-g-h-t, promo code scandal. From Wondery, I'm Lindsay Graham and this is American Skin. In 1974, the story of Patricia Hearst's kidnapping turned into a national sensation, generating coverage in newspapers, radio and TV. The public found itself gripped by the unfolding saga, involving a corporate eras who appeared to renounce her life of wealth and privilege and take up an identity as a radical activist and a criminal on the run. In September of 1975, Hearst was arrested for taking part in a bank robbery. Facing renewed public attention, Hearst found herself at the center of one of the biggest trials of the 20th century. Both in and out of the courtroom, there were fierce debates about Hearst's state of mind. Was she a real member of the SLA or was she the victim of brainwashing or playing a part to survive? As the trial unfolded, these questions would have large implications for Patricia Hearst and they would shape the jury's deliberations as they decided whether to find Hearst guilty of crimes that could send her to prison. This is episode 4, Free Will. It's September 26, 1975, at the San Mateo County Jail. Affleigh Bailey lights a cigarette as he sizes up a young woman seated across the table. She has disheveled red hair and thinly plucked eyebrows. She's gone and looks worn down. Bailey takes a long drag from his cigarette. He doesn't quite know what to make of his newest client, Patricia Hearst. Bailey is one of the most well-known criminal defense attorneys in the country. He's won cases defending rapists and exonerating murderers. And he's had his brushes with celebrity, representing the infamous serial killer, The Boston Strangler. But Patricia Hearst involves an entirely different magnitude of fame. The entire country has been following her case, arguing about what justice means in her case. Bailey knows he has his work cut out for him. Hearst faces criminal charges for her role in a bank robbery. The media-airists also unloaded a submachine gun at a sporting goods store. Making matters worse, Hearst has proudly declared her responsibility for the criminal activity. And even since getting arrested, she hasn't been staying quiet. Hearst has continued to draw attention to herself, spouting a bunch of heated political rhetoric. So this will be a tough case. But Bailey believes it's worthwhile. Patricia Hearst's trial is going to receive a flurry of media coverage. And that's free publicity for Bailey's practice. He might even get a book deal out of it. But before he can start counting up all the money he's about to make, Bailey knows he needs to first talk some sense into his client. He has to get Patricia Hearst under control. That's the only way they stand a chance at winning in trial. So inside this jailhouse conference room, Bailey stubs out his cigarette and strains the lapels of his three-piece suit. Then he tells Hearst, starting now, he's in charge. Her father hired him to win the case and if Hearst wants to avoid prison, she has to do exactly what he says. Hearst crosses her arms and asks what the lawyer is talking about. What is he asking her to do? Bailey begins laying out his strategy. Number one, there's going to be no more communication with the SLA. No more writing letters to anyone even affiliated with the group. Hearst has to get some distance from all political radicals. But Hearst pushes back. She's sitting in jail, completely alone. Bailey is asking her to cut herself off from everyone who cares about her. But Hearst's attorney reminds her that that's not true. She could see her family, her old friends, people she was close to before getting kidnapped. They love her and care about her. Hearst pauses, finding her lip. And while he knows what he said was true, Bailey acknowledges the situation is complicated. When she was still with the SLA, Hearst recorded herself denouncing her old life. The group made sure those tapes were broadcast across the country. And those recordings no doubt cause a lot of pain for Hearst family members. But they could still come back together, Bailey thinks. So he consoles Hearst, telling her not to fret and not to get hung up on past decisions. They're talking about family. Family will always be there. Hearst remains quiet for a few moments. But then asks if she follows the instructions. If she cuts herself off from the SLA and they do win a trial. Will she finally be able to live a life on her own terms? Bailey pulls out another cigarette and lights up. Taking a deep drag, he tells Hearst that that's the definition of freedom, being able to live the life you want. And Hearst gives a meek nod. She says she'll follow his instructions. Bailey blows out a pillar of smoke, feeling satisfied. On his flight over to San Francisco, he wandered which version of Patty Hearst he'd encountered. The radical who calls herself Tanya, or someone else. Hopefully someone rational. Someone willing to do what it takes to win a trial. For now, it looks like Bailey has gotten lucky. And if Hearst remains client, he should be able to put forward a strong argument and get this whole case dismissed. It's the fall of 1975 in Northern California. In the visitor's room of San Mateo County Jail, Catherine Hearst takes a seat on a hard plastic chair. She smooths down her tailored suit and adjusts her pearl necklace. Soon, her daughter Patricia is led in handcuffed and takes a seat. The two women are separated by a thick piece of glass. The jarring experience for a mother. But even with the physical distance, Catherine can see there's reason to be hopeful. Patricia's eyes look a little brighter. Her shoulders are less hunched. Catherine has been making regular trips to the jail to see Patricia, and with each visit her daughter has seemed more like herself, and less like the radical everyone reads about in newspapers. Catherine gives some of the credit to Ethley Bailey, Patricia's attorney. She heard he put his foot down and demanded that Patricia cut off contact with her fellow political activists. With less of their daily influence, it seems like Patricia is setting aside some of her more radical notions. But Catherine knows that's just the first step to bringing Patty back into the family, to repairing the deep wounds and reconnecting with her daughter. But sitting in the drafty visitors room now, Catherine struggles to find anything to talk about, something they could connect over. Finally, Catherine smiles and asks about crocheting. Is Patricia still keeping it up? Patricia says, yeah, she's still doing some. She's working on a scarf now. It gets cold at night in her cell. Catherine nods, this is a good opening. In keeping the conversation going, Catherine begins filling in Patricia on tidbits of her family gossip. Then she talks about the family dogs, she knows Patricia has always liked animals. And soon enough, the conversation starts to feel easy and natural. Catherine almost forgets that they're sitting in a jail, separated by a thick pane of glass. But suddenly, in the conversation, Patricia tells her mother she doesn't have to keep faking it. She knows the family hates her for what she said in those tapes. And while she appreciates the visits and knows it looks good for her cause, they can drop the pretence. Patricia knows it's all just for show. Catherine's face falls. And leaning forward to the glass, she tells her daughter this is absolutely not for show. No one hates her for those tapes. Those recordings were a godsend. They were proof that she was alive. Catherine goes on saying that no one in the family took what she was saying in earnest. She was being held captive. They know she was forced to say some outrageous things. Patricia looks down at the table, gathering her thoughts. Then she asks her mother why she didn't believe the statements on those tapes. Why didn't she think Patricia actually meant what she said? Catherine smiles and says no one knows Patty Hurst as well as her own family. And if the real Patricia was actually talking on those recordings, she would have been a hell of a lot more sarcastic. Patricia suddenly buries her face in her hands. Catherine worries she made a blunder. She was trying to be playful and connect with her daughter, but she might have made things worse. But then with her face still buried in her hands, Patricia starts to laugh. She says she never realized her sarcasm was so infamous in the family. Catherine laughs along with her daughter, feeling at ease for the first time, and longer than she can remember. But then Patricia's expression turns serious again. She wonders what she can do about those tapes she recorded. They're going to be out in the public forever, along with all those terrible photos of her. The ones the newspapers couldn't get enough of. Catherine tells her daughter not to spend any more time worrying about newspapers or radio or TV. All that matters is her family. They know the truth about who she really is, and they will always love her. Catherine looks at her daughter, searching to see if she believes this solemn statement. And for what feels like an eternity, the two sit in silence, not saying a single word. Finally, Patricia nods. But before they can talk anymore, a guard signals that their time is up. Catherine stands and says goodbye. But Patricia has one more question. Is her mother coming back again tomorrow? Catherine looks at Patricia through the glass. Her daughter's face is open and expectant. She seems like the patty she raised, so Catherine assures her daughter that she will be here tomorrow. And she'll keep coming back until Patricia is free. It's late September 1975 in San Francisco. The prosecutor Jim Browning kneels on the ground, trying to untangle a knot of cords behind a TV. He pulls on one of the black wires hoping to free it from the cluster, but the knot somehow only gets more bunched and tangled. For Browning, troubleshooting audiovisual issues isn't a normal part of the job. He is the US attorney for the Northern District of California, a federal prosecutor. And as one of the federal government's top attorneys, Browning's main job is to prosecute criminals, not tangle with cords between a VCR and a TV. But in just a few minutes, Browning is going to sit down with F. Lee Bailey, the defense attorney representing Patricia Hearst. Browning has been named the lead prosecutor in the upcoming Hearst case. It's his job to convict Hearst of all her crimes, including robbery. So Browning knows how this meeting is going to play out. The defense attorney is going to try to get the government to dismiss all charges, claiming it's better to avoid trial that the prosecution has a losing case. And Bailey is a famous defense attorney with a reputation for bravado and aggressive posturing. But Browning isn't going to cave or give in to any pressure. He has a trunk card, a piece of evidence that should silence his opposing counsel. But to reveal it, First Browning is going to have to get the VCR connected to the TV. Still kneeling on the ground, Browning finally manages to untangle the cords and get everything connected. Static gives way to a black screen. And as Browning lifts himself off the floor, there's a knock on the door. Browning opens it and finds defense attorney Bailey standing in a three-piece suit. He looks Browning up and down with a smirk. Hey Browning, what's with the dumb shoes? Browning glances down at his patent leather slip-ons, shakes his head. It didn't take Bailey a second to start in with the insults. Mr. Bailey, please come in. I was just getting the tape set up for our meeting. No tapes aren't necessary. Look, you and I both know. It's an everyone's best interest that this whole thing doesn't go to trial. Well, I'm not sure who you mean by everyone. But please, grab a seat. I think we should watch the tape. We could both benefit from a sober perspective. All right. Well, let's watch the movies. Browning walks over and hits play on the VCR. Soon the two attorneys are watching black and white footage from a security camera. The defense attorney gives another cutting smirk. Well, we're all familiar with this incident. The very famous Patricia Hers, robbing a bank and waving a gun. What's the point? Well, as I watch this tape, I see that Miss Hers is behaving purposefully, voluntarily. You could even say she's got verve. No, I wouldn't say that. And I'd bet you much more than your penny loafers shoes that I can get a jury on my side. Bailey, be reasonable. I mean, look at the footage. It's unambiguous. Patty Hers is a gun-toting criminal. We're not going to drop the charges. That's not even on the table. But, please offer me something. Is Hers willing to enter into a plea deal? Nope, no plea. My client is not going to prison. Well, then what are we doing here? I'm not dropping charges, and you're not offering a plea. But you knew that when you walked in the door. Well, I am here to offer you something. If you lose this battle, this case, you could still win the bigger war. Oh, and what is that supposed to mean? It means cooperation. Drop the charges and Miss Hers will testify for the government. You'll get a star witness against all those other lunatics awaiting trial. Browning considers the offer. Bill and Emily Harris, the other original members of the SLA, were recently arrested themselves. And Hers would be an excellent witness. But it's not a good deal for the prosecution. I'm sorry. You expect me to let America's most famous fugitive walk away. It's got free. In exchange for testifying in other cases that we know we're going to win. Ah, the press would have a field day with it. Look, look, look. I know you're wanting to make a statement with this trial. Rich girl won't get away with it, not on your watch. But let me ask you, is the government really going to put a kidnapping victim on trial? Before he tried her own kidnappers? Well, we're not denying Patricia Hers was kidnapped. I believe Miss Hers is both a victim and a willful bank robber. It wasn't willful. She was coerced. Coerced. How many times could she have walked away? But she never did. She always chose to stay. Oh, you don't need a gun pointed at your head to know your life is on the line. Yeah. I'm beginning to think that you government prosecutors don't know a thing about human nature. That's going to be your loss. Browning shakes his head. No, I know a thing or two about human nature. And bombings. High jackings. Robberies. Assassinations. Our country is falling apart and people like you are trying to write it all off. Claiming everyone's a victim. Well, you know what? People need to be held responsible for the choices they make. And the public needs to see that their justice system functions properly. So no, I'm not dismissing charges. And no, I'm not taking a plea to you. The defencatory grabs his bag and hops up heading for the door. All right, well, looks like I'll see you in court. Oh, and about the proper functioning of the justice system. You were appointed by Nixon, right? Before Browning can respond, Bailey is out the door. Browning gets up and hits he jacked on the VCR, removing the tape. He was right. This meeting went exactly as he imagined. And Browning is glad he didn't cave. He could have gotten some value out of her. If she testified against Bill and Emily Harris. But Browning meant what he said. Hurst may be a wealthy Harris with a powerful family, but in America, even the rich and powerful still have to be held responsible for their crimes. You've got back to back meetings, errands to run and chores to take care of. What's the secret to clearing your to-do list? If you have a little help from DoorDash, you can get dinner, household essentials, and everything on your grocery list. Delivered. Along with the restaurants you love, you can now get groceries and other essential items delivered with DoorDash. Get drinks, snacks, and other household items in under an hour for a limited time. Our listeners can get 50% off up to a $20 value and $0 delivery fees when you download the DoorDash app and enter code Wondery. Don't forget that's code Wondery for 50% off up to a $20 value and $0 delivery fees with DoorDash. Subject to change terms apply. It's February 19, 1976. Five months since Patricia Hurst was arrested in her apartment. In a federal courtroom in San Francisco, Hurst is sitting in the witness stand, trying to maintain her composure. She's wearing a pinstripe blazer and a large silk bow, the outfit of someone who would appear to lead a normal and proper life. But in front of her, Jim Browning, the federal prosecutor, is pacing back and forth, preparing yet another line of withering questions in his cross-examination. It's all part of an effort to paint Hurst as a criminal, a misfit, and a political radical. It's been a long few days. Only two weeks in, people are already calling this the trial of the century. Hurst has had to sit in the witness stand, dissecting her own inner life in a courtroom packed with gawking members of the public. The trial has had the atmosphere of a zoo with Hurst feeling like an animal on display. Her defense attorney, Eiffelie Bailey, said that this was all a necessary part of the process. In order to win, they had to establish her state of mind, beginning with the moment she was kidnapped. And Hurst had to show how the threat of death was part of the daily fabric of her life, informing everyone of her decisions over the course of months. Hurst robbed a bank, she doesn't deny it. But what they had to show the jury is that given her kidnapping and the chronic terror she felt, it's clear that she was coerced and is not culpable. So far, Hurst has gone long with the defense strategy. She's tried to stay clear of anything that would make her seem like a sincere convert to the SLA. But after days of testifying, Hurst can feel herself wearing thin. She's had to endure hour upon hour of intense questioning. And looking up at the prosecutor, Hurst can tell she's about to face another round of painful interrogations. Questions designed to trip her up and sway the seven women and five men sitting in the jury box. The prosecutor, Browning, turns on his heels and begins his next round of questions. So, Ms. Hurst, we've heard of many instances where you had access to a telephone and even moments of privacy during your time with the SLA. Why exactly did you never call your parents or try to return to them? I felt my parents wouldn't want to see me again. I felt ashamed what I'd said about them on those tapes. And so you remained in a situation where the threat of death supposedly hung over you. Because you were worried your parents were mad at you? It's not that simple. And yes or no, Ms. Hurst. If you put it that way, yes, I guess. Good. Now, I'm going to show you something. Browning walks to the prosecutor's table and grabs a gun. Hurst recognizes the weapon. It's the one she'd carried when she and the SLA robbed the hibernia bank. Browning sets the weapon in front of her and Hurst picks it up and inspecting it. Now, Ms. Hurst, do you look quite comfortable with that gun? How do you know that weapon was yours? By the stock and the bolt. Hurst freezes. She's made a mistake. Revealing a side of herself that she's been trying to avoid someone who knows how to handle a gun. But soon Browning moves on from the gun and begins another line of questioning. Now, did you and Mr. William Wolfe, a man also known as Kujo, did you and Mr. Wolfe develop a relationship during your time with the SLA? You mean during my kidnapping? Ms. Hurst. What was the nature of the relationship? I don't know what you mean. Was it a sexual relationship? I don't like to call it a relationship. What would you call it then? I don't like saying it out loud. We're trying to sort out the facts, Ms. Hurst. He raped me. The courtroom suddenly grows tense. But Browning doesn't pivot. Was it forcible rape? A bedroom pardon? I mean, did you struggle or did you submit because of fear? I didn't resist. No. Did you not say to others within the group that you thought highly of Mr. Wolfe? I didn't say that at all. Well, then what exactly did you say? I said I had a strong feeling about him. And what was that feeling? For Hurst, this is excruciating. She's being forced to relive one of the most painful moments of her life in front of a crowd of strangers. But she doesn't mince her words. Well, Mr. Browning, it wasn't romantic. I couldn't stand him. I'm just trying to survive. Hurst looks around the courtroom, seeing members of the public nodding, seeming to take her side. And when she turns back to the prosecutor, she can tell he's now uncomfortable. And that feels like a small victory. For days, Hurst has been turned into an object of public scrutiny. She's felt her humanity slipping away. But finally, it seems that people are seeing her as a person again. Someone who survived a painful experience and who had to make complicated and difficult choices. It's a small measure of vindication. And there's another more consequential benefit. If the jury understands her perspective and experience, there's a chance Hurst will be able to walk away from this trial of free woman. Several weeks later, Jim Browning watches as his assistant attorney, David Bancroft, rises from the prosecution table and begins his examination of their next witness. Dr. Joel Fort is a psychiatrist and an expert in human psychology. Browning brought the doctor into the trial because no matter how he tried to deliver the facts, the defense pushed back with the same argument. Underneath every one of her decisions, Patricia Hurst was terrified and never acting of her own free will. The defense has trotted out a group of psychiatrists, all painting a picture of Hurst as numb with terror, only joining the SLA to relieve the constant threats of death. They even had the gall to compare Hurst to a prisoner of war. By now, the prosecution can see where this trial is headed. It's becoming a never-ending debate over something no attorney can prove what Patricia Hurst was thinking and feeling during her time with the SLA. And the jury seems like it's been swayed by the defense. So the prosecution is going to fight fire with fire. Browning assembled his own team of psychiatrists. His goal isn't to convince the jury one way or the other about Hurst's state of mind. He just hopes his experts will undermine the psychiatrist's body and by the other side, and that the cold, hard facts of the case will finally take precedence. So at the prosecution table, Browning sits listening as Dr. Fort begins painting a very different portrait of Patricia Hurst. He describes Hurst as a young woman prone to lying, a woman who strongly disliked her parents, who harbored serious doubts about her engagement to her fiance. The psychiatrist goes on to describe Hurst as a woman fundamentally desperate to find a sense of meaning in her life. Dr. Fort acknowledges that Hurst's kidnapping may have involved a period of frightening captivity. What he argues, it also liberated Hurst from a life that had left her feeling trapped and gave her a sense of purpose. Hearing this assertion, Hurst's attorney, Eiffli Bailey, raises an objection arguing that the testimony is outrageous, but the judge denies the request. Browning's assistant attorney continues with his examination, asking a series of probing questions about Patricia Hurst's credibility, as well as the likelihood that Hurst was a sincere convert to the SLA. As the questioning unfolds, Browning glances at the jury box, trying to sus out their reaction. It's looking good, and they seem persuaded. And with more psychiatrists lined up in the coming days, Browning starts to feel optimistic. This case isn't lost yet. It's March 20, 1976, inside San Francisco's federal courthouse. Patricia Hurst gathers with her legal team around the defense table, watching as reporters and court staff file into the courtroom. Everyone looks frazzled because no one expected a decision to have been made so quickly. As the jurors begin filing back into the courtroom, Hurst tries to steady herself, getting ready for the moment of reckoning. If the jury comes back with a guilty verdict, Hurst could face a sentence of 35 years in prison. Hurst believes she's done her best to convince the jury. She was kidnapped, kept blindfolded and closet, sexually assaulted, threatened at gunpoint, and subjected to the whims of unhinged radicals, people who had killed before kidnapping her. It's no surprise she joined her captors, what choice did she really have? Hurst and her attorney believe the argument would be persuasive, but toward the end of the trial, the prosecution brought forth new and damaging evidence. The SLA member Kujo, the man Hurst accused of rape, had given her a gift, appendent shaped like a monkey. Hurst explained that according to Kujo, the necklace was a relic from Mexico, and over 2000 years old, so she held onto it. But the prosecution spun the story in another direction. They argued that Hurst had kept the necklace because she was in love with Kujo. The lead prosecutor, Jim Browning, said the pendant was proof that Hurst was never coerced into joining the SLA. She had feelings for her fellow members, and her participation in the group was sincere. Hurst was sickened by the accusation, and feared the prosecution had found their silver bullet. Hurst's attorneys offered some reassurance, saying one piece of evidence wasn't enough to dismantle the whole defense. But Hurst doesn't know what to think. She's trying to remain positive. A verdict of not guilty still seems possible. She could put this whole ordeal behind her, try to get back to living something of a normal life. But Hurst is under no illusion that the verdict could just as likely go the other way. Inside the courtroom, the members of the jury take their seats. The judge asks if they've reached a verdict. The foreman says they have. He then hands over a piece of paper, and Hurst watches anxiously as the judge reads it to himself in silence. As Hurst sits waiting, she can feel the eyes of so many strangers staring at her, waiting to see her reaction. But Hurst has decided not to show anything, no matter the verdict. She's given the world enough already. Whatever emotion she feels will be Hurst and Hurst alone. The judge then hands the verdict over to the court clerk who clears his throat. Then he announces that the jury finds the defendant Patricia Campbell Hurst guilty of armed robbery and the felonious use of firearms. Hurst feels herself sinking into the ground. Guilty. It's all over. And Patricia Hurst is going to prison. It's early 1982, six years after Patricia Hurst was tried and found guilty on charges of robbery. It's a warm day in Los Angeles, and Hurst is following a man down a narrow set of stairs into a cool and clammy basement. On the walls are framed magazine cover from Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Playboy. The man gestures for Hurst to take a seat in a padded armchair. Then he pulls out a tape recorder, and sets it on the table between them. Launching into an interview that Hurst knows could last for hours. It's been a turbulent few years for Patricia Hurst. After being found guilty at trial, Hurst was sentenced to seven years in prison. Hurst appealed the decision, but she wasn't successful and was sent away to prison in Northern California. But the fight didn't end there. Hundreds of Hurst supporters petitioned a White House for official pardon. Hurst always assumed it was a long shot, but after serving 22 months, it was a miracle. President Jimmy Carter agreed to commute the remainder of her sentence, and on February 1, 1979 Patricia Hurst was set free. Ever since she walked out of federal prison, Hurst has been trying to get back to a normal life. She married, gave birth to a baby girl, and promised herself that she was done talking about the SLA and its small army of political radicals. She was ready to move on. But Hurst couldn't stop the media from continuing to cover her story. Apparently, it was just too sensational. So she began giving interviews, trying to shape the story. But the media continued publishing pieces full of speculation and exaggerated facts. Eventually, Hurst decided she had to more forcefully counter the media's narrative. Eventually, she published her memoir, telling what she felt was the true story about her experience, how she was brainwashed. Victimized and coerced by the SLA. And that's what brought Hurst to this basement office in Los Angeles. She's publicizing her book and agreed to sit down with a journalist named Lawrence Grubal. After all this time, trying to avoid attention, Hurst is now ready to step back into the spotlight and set the record straight. Grubal gets his tape recorder rolling and begins with his first question. Okay, you comfortable? All right, good. We're recording. So Patricia, I wanted to see if we could get right to the marrow of the matter here if you'll allow it. Sure. If I'm uncomfortable with any of the questions, I'll be clear. All right, good. Well, to start with, think about what's happened to you, the kidnapping, the birth of Tanya, the bank robberies, and the trial, and the prison. If you could go back, would you erase all of those experiences? Well, Larry, I'm thinking like that's frankly a waste of time. Why is that? You'd never run that thought experiment? There's no point looking back and trying to imagine something different. The life I have is the one that happened, and it includes my kidnapping and my time with the SLA. And in your time with the SLA, were you a true believer like the other members? Look, you have someone threatening your life. You start believing things, but it's not like I had free will. Yet you were a willing participant in a bank robbery. You just can't separate things out like that. You can't ignore the threats I was under. They said if I didn't do it, they'd kill me. The reporter scribbles down a note. So, what you're saying is you were a true believer, but not by choice. You know, one of the psychiatrists used a term, traumatic neuroses with dissociative features. That's what I was dealing with. And that means what? Brainwashing. I wasn't loopy, I wasn't on drugs, but I wasn't in control of my mind or emotions. Things were happening to me. I was just trying to make it through. And really, isn't that what we're all trying to do? Every day, just trying to make the best of our circumstances. Well, I guess we're all just trying to survive. You know, it's funny. People keep saying I had guts joining the SLA. But really, I think it was one of the most cowardly things I could have done. You're telling me joining a militant group and robbing banks is cowardly? Sure. Because you know what would have taken real guts. Standing up to them, facing that threat of death. But I'm coward. I didn't want to die. But maybe your readers aren't going to be happy with that version of the story. They want me to be something else. The patty hers that lives in their imagination. All the magazines, books, and news articles. They've all created their own version of who I am and what I think. So, which patty hers am I talking to right now? Her smiles. The one sitting across from you. That's the best I can offer. Herse looks down at the tape recorder, capturing her voice. Recording the pauses between her words, the fragments of meaning layered into every one of her ideas. All the unresolvable contradictions that herse knows are part of every individual experience. And when the conversation finally comes to an end, herse sits back feeling satisfied. She may never be able to control how the public sees her, but she can at least try. Patricia Campbell, herse was just shy of her 25th birthday when she walked out of prison. When President Jimmy Carter commuted her sentence, many questions whether it was the right move. Some believe Carter was violating his own stated principles, giving preferential treatment to the rich. But the culture had shifted even in the short time herse was away in prison. The public confronted events like the Jones Town Massacre, when a cult leader led hundreds of his followers to their own deaths. As the country reckoned with the tragedy, the notion that one state of mind could be influenced by a radical group suddenly didn't seem so outrageous anymore. In 1977, former SLA members Bill and Emily Harris pleaded guilty to kidnapping Patricia Hearst, they each serve about six years. But the Harris' legal troubles didn't end there. Decades later, the FBI was able to conclusively tie the SLA to a 1975 bank robbery in Carmichael, California. In prior testimony, Patricia Hearst had blamed Emily Hearst for shooting and killing an innocent bystander. With the FBI's newfound work on the case, Emily Harris, Bill Harris, and two of their former associates were sentenced for murder. In 2001, Patricia Hearst received a full pardon from President Bill Clinton. In an interview in 2009, Hearst addressed one of the most controversial elements of her trial, saying that the idea that she had a consensual relationship with SLA member Kujo was outrageous, and that it was an insult to survivors of rape. Still in recent years, Hearst has managed to carve out more of a normal life. She's become a regular at competitive dog shows, and her animals have taken home tough titles. During a 2015 interview at the Westminster dog show, Hearst addressed her troubled past, saying some people still couldn't accept that she had left behind all her experiences in the SLA. They imagine you don't evolve in life, Hearst said. But people move on. From Wondery, this is episode four of the kidnapping of Patty Hearst from American scandal. In our next episode, I sit down with Sarah Weiman, a journalist and author of the book's The Real Lolita and Scoundrel. We'll discuss the rise of true crime and the debates about the way the media covered Patricia Hearst and her kidnapping. We'll also look at the history of true crime entertainment and how it can be a force for good and potentially harmful. Hey, Prime members, you can listen to American scandal Add Free on Amazon Music, download the Amazon Music Cap today. Or you can listen Add Free with Wondery Plus and Apple Podcasts. Before you go, tell us about yourself by completing a short survey at slash survey. If you'd like to learn more about Patricia Hearst, we recommend the book's American Eris by Jeffrey Tuben and every secret thing by Patricia Campbell Hearst and Alvin Moscow. This episode contains reenactments and dramatized details. And while in most cases we can't know exactly what was said, all our dramatizations are based on historical research. American scandal is hosted, edited and executed produced by me, Lindsay Graham for Airship. Audio editing by Molly Bach, sound design by Derek Barons, music by Lindsay Graham. This episode is written by AJ Marishel, edited by Christina Molesberg. Our senior producer is Gabe Ribbon, executive producers, our Stephanie Jenns, Jenny Lauer Beckman, and Marsha Louis for Wondery. Thank you, your job stinks. Just wait until you hear what it was like to be a funeral clown. Long before all of human knowledge was in your pocket, people had some pretty bizarre professions. Luckily, you don't have to see a sin eater or a barber surgeon now, but you'll find out what it's like to get surgery with a shave. Wondery's new podcast, This Job Is History, is hosted by Chris Parnell from Saturday Night Live and Rick and Morty. Steeped in factual history, this brilliantly funny podcast delves into quirky and absurd jobs from the past, with hilarious interviews that are infused with fascinatingly true Easter eggs. Come get weird with us each week as improv comedians from groundlings and UCB, act out their old-fashioned gig from another time. You'll be glad your guidance counselor didn't recommend any of these jobs. Clock in and follow This Job Is History, wherever you get your podcasts. You can listen ad-free on the Amazon Music or Wondery app. The kick is on the way and it is good! Feels like one of the great comebacks in history! In 2017, I was a linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers, with my whole life was changed in an instant. Chase Zero, the middle linebacker, is not getting up. I don't think anybody has seen his legs move since the hit. They said I'll be paralyzed for the rest of my life, that I'll never walk again. But I didn't give up, I understood that that was just the beginning of my comeback. From Wondery, this is Don't Call it a Comeback. Don't cut it a comeback! Hosted by me, former pro-boy linebacker Ryan Shayzear. And me, Zero Time Pro-Buller, Dave Damishet. In each episode, we'll look at the down and out moments that led to the magical ones. We'll dive deep into what makes each story more incredible than the last. So follow Don't Call it a Comeback on Amazon Music or wherever you get your podcasts. Listen, add free by subscribing to Wondery Plus and Apple Podcasts for the Wondery app.