Monday, December 30, 2019

R.I.P.: Fred Graham. Legal Affairs News Reporter

Fred P. Graham, a legal affairs reporter, television anchor and author who covered the Supreme Court, the Justice Department and the major trials and controversies of a tumultuous juridical era for The New York Times, CBS News and Court TV, died on Saturday at his home in Washington.

Fred Graham
He was 88, reports The NY Times.  The cause was complications of Parkinson’s disease.

With a legal and Washington background, Graham began life in journalism at the top in 1965, as the first lawyer hired to be The Times’s Supreme Court correspondent, a job most reporters today would consider the climax of a career. In an era of racial tension and political transition, Graham brought solid legal expertise and experience in government to the task.

Blending news, analysis and background on daily deadlines, he detailed cases arising from civil rights murders in the South, free press versus privacy issues, questions over prayer in public schools and, in 1971, the Nixon administration’s losing fight to suppress publication by The Times and The Washington Post of the Pentagon Papers, the secret Defense Department history of the government’s duplicity in Vietnam.

In 1972, he joined CBS as the network’s law correspondent. Over 15 years, he became a familiar face to Americans, pioneering coverage of Supreme Court rulings for the transitory attention of television viewers. While with CBS, he reported on the Watergate scandal; the resignation of former President Richard M. Nixon; and the legal struggles over abortion rights, racial preferences in college admissions and protections for criminal defendants.

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