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As Trump impeachment debates roll on, see historic courtroom sketches from Watergate trial

Freda Reiter's ‘Alone in Oval Office’ Courtesy online Gallery 98

Will history repeat itself? As the debate to decide if US president Donald Trump will be impeached unfolds in the US House of Representatives today, New York’s Gallery 98 has launched the topical online exhibition Watergate Courtroom Sketches by Freda L. Reiter, 1973 – 75. As the title implies, the show includes a suite of pastel courtroom sketches executed during the trial over the Watergate hotel break-in and cover-up, which ended Richard Nixon’s presidency. All the illustrations were drawn by Freda L. Reiter (1919-86), whose twin sister Ida Libby Dengrove (1919-2005) was also an acclaimed courtroom sketch artist—Ida did courtroom sketches for the Philadelphia Inquirer before switching to ABC-TV, while Freda served as chief illustrator for rival NBC News. Their pastel drawings of the historic scandal look eerily contemporary and include images like Alone in Oval Office, an imagined scene in which Nixon sits at his desk and sheds a single tear, and Sirica reads verdict, 1975, in which the Watergate trial judge gives the final guilty verdict against Nixon’s aides H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman and former attorney general John Mitchell for their role in the cover-up.