Noted author, speaker to discuss famous 20th century trials

January 31, 2017
Shelby Taylor

Without question, the 20th century produced some of the most intense and highly publicized court battles the U.S. has ever seen, from the McMartin preschool sexual abuse case to the courtroom drama involving O.J. Simpson.

On Friday, the University of Florida Office of the President, the Bob Graham Center for Public Service and the Levin College of Law will present two talks by Cornell University Dean and American Studies Professor Glenn Altschuler, who will draw on his discussion of these and other trials in a just-published book, “Ten Great American Trials: Lessons in Advocacy.”

The book is co-authored by Faust Rossi, a law professor at Cornell.

Altschuler, the Thomas and Dorothy Litwin Professor of American Studies and dean of the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions at Cornell, is a prolific writer who has authored 11 books – as well as thousands of essays, columns and reviews for The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, NPR and other outlets.

He is also a noted speaker and a respected mentor and teacher at Cornell, where he was named a Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow, Cornell’s most prestigious award for undergraduate teaching.  His survey course about U.S. popular culture is a perennial favorite among undergraduates on the Cornell campus.

“Glenn is a highly knowledgeable and entertaining speaker whose natural eloquence and skills as a storyteller never fail to delight and enthrall audiences,” said UF President Kent Fuchs, who was Altschuler’s colleague during the 12 years Fuchs spent at Cornell. “I’m thrilled he will speak at UF, and I know everyone who attends his talks will find them both engrossing and highly informative.”

At noon Friday, in the College of Law’s Holland Room 180, Altschuler will examine the McMartin sexual abuse case—the longest and most expensive criminal trial in American history.

At 6 p.m. in the Pugh Hall Ocora, Altschuler will present a talk entitled “The Future Belongs to Those Who Tell the Best Stories: Lessons in Trial Advocacy." The talk will draw on four of the 10 trials discussed in the book representing the “most highly publicized, intriguing and legendary court battles of the 20th century,” according to the American Bar Association, the book’s publisher.

Opening remarks for both talks will be made by Fuchs, who will also moderate audience question-and-answer sessions after Altschuler’s formal presentations.

Both talks are free and open to the public and parking is available. The 6 p.m. talk will be streamed live on the Bob Graham Center website at bobgrahamcenter.ufl.edu.

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