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Trial Tweets Through The Ages

The Associated Press reported Friday that a juror in Arkansas may be in trouble for allegedly "tweeting" (via Twitter) while hearing a civil lawsuit involving a buildings material company.

No doubt the juror will get in trouble—may even a contempt sanction—and perhaps the losing side in the case will get a new trial as well (although that's a closer call).

But the episode—sure to be repeated around the country now that the Age of Texting is upon us—got me thinking about what "tweets" might have looked like in some of the most famous trials of history.

Plato tweets the trial of Socrates (399 B.C.): "Should the old man plead insanity for refusing to do reverence to the gods? Analysis you can't get from Xenophon."

Galileo Galilei tweets his "world is round" inquisition/trial in 1633: "Morons. If world isn't round why does toilet water swirl in different direction in Australia? And stop poking me with stick!"

Cotton Mather tweets the Salem witch trials of 1692: "Who should be the next earnest Pilgrim to be tortured into confessing witchcraft? Text your votes to *666."

Clarence Darrow tweets the 1925 Scopes' monkey trial: "Long day in court but watch Larry King Live tonight where I'll continue to debate evolution with Joan Rivers and Brad Pitt."

Alger Hiss tweets his own 1949 Soviet spy trial: "Of course! The hidden spy film was concealed in the carved-out pumpkin on a Maryland farm! How could I not have seen that one coming!"

Hannah Arendt tweets the 1961 trial of Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann: "Speaking of the banality of evil, when are they going to put a Starbucks into this Israeli courthouse?"

Lenny Bruce tweets his 1964 obscenity trial in New York City: "What the #%%^$? This is total (*Y*(^. That rat @$#%% prosecutor can suck my big, fat *&(#@. What a &*!$%."

O.J. Simpson tweets his own 1995 murder trial: "Can't believe they are going to make me try on those gloves…. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!"

Former President Bill Clinton tweets his own 1999 Senate impeachment trial: "I asked Rehnquist who he is wearing. Says 'Gilbert and Sullivan.' And I still haven't gotten to meet Lis Wiehl yet!"

Andrew Cohen is CBS News' Chief Legal Analyst and Legal Editor. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here.
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