Entries in Audio Recordings (4)


Federal Judge Unseals Digital Recordings of Prop 8 Trial

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) -- A federal Judge in California has unsealed the digital recordings of the Prop 8 trial in California held in 2010.

Defenders of Prop 8 did not want the tapes released in part because they believed that it would have a “chilling effect” on expert witnesses who testified about the controversial ballot measure that defined marriage as being between a man and a woman.  Transcripts of the court proceedings had been publicly available.

At the trial, Judge Vaughn Walker, who has since retired, ordered the digital recording, but did not release the tapes.  The judge later struck down Prop 8, and the ruling is currently on appeal.

In ordering the release of the digital recordings, Judge James Ware of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California said,  “Foremost among the aspects of the federal judicial system that foster public confidence in the fairness and integrity of the process are public access to trials and public access to the record of judicial proceedings.”

Ware noted that there had to be “compelling reasons” for keeping such a record of judicial proceedings secret.  His decision is stayed for Sept. 30 to give parties a chance to appeal.

Chad Griffin, the board president of the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), a group challenging Prop 8, released a statement praising the decision: “This is a significant victory for the American people, who will soon be able to see the evidence put forward by both sides in this historic federal trial.”

AFER could not have asked for better timing of the judge’s order.  Monday night the group held a fundraiser in New York with Hollywood actors reading parts of the transcript on stage.  The “cast” includes Ellen Barkin, Anthony Edwards, Morgan Freeman, Cheyenne Jackson, Christine Lahti, John Lithgow, Rob Reiner, Yeardley Smith and Bradley Whitford.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Jacqueline Kennedy's Audio Tapes: 'John John' Talks about Dad

1963 President Kennedy sits behind his desk, laughing as his children Caroline and John Jr show him their Halloween costumes in the Oval Office of the White House. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- When a young John Kennedy, Jr. -- still affectionately known as "John John" -- wandered into a session where his mother, Jacqueline, was recording an oral history of her slain husband's presidency, there's a moment when time stands still.  The tape keeps rolling.

The interviewer, historian and family friend Arthur Schlesinger Jr., took the opportunity to ask the boy a question on his tape recorder.

"John, what happened to your father?" Schlesinger asked.

"Well, he's gone to heaven," the 3-year-old replied.

John Jr. was born 16 days after his father was elected president, and his father's funeral was held on his third birthday.  The young boy, standing up straight to salute his father's casket, brought the nation to tears.

But when gently prodded by Schlesinger about what he remembered, the boy adopted the tactic kids everywhere use to ward off prying adults by saying mischievously, "I don't remember anything."

John made his escape seconds later, but the moment was a reminder that this president was also a father, who interrupted naps, interrupted the White House school and lined his bathtub with floatie toys for the boy who would insist on piling into the tub with his dad.

That oral history the former first lady was recording nearly 50 years ago will be released this week in a book titled Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy.

ABC News' Diane Sawyer hosted a prime-time, two-hour special based on the tapes Tuesday night, featuring exclusive, never-before-heard extended audio of Jacqueline Kennedy's oral history, rare photographs, plus an exclusive interview with Caroline Kennedy.

One of the many personal memories Jacqueline Kennedy lovingly shares is her husband's frequent morning wake-ups in the White House.

"The television, gosh sometimes it was loud ... there'd be cartoons, and there was this awful exercise man, Jack La...," Jacqueline recalled, referring to 1960s exercise guru Jack LaLanne.

Daughter Caroline and toddler son John would be rolling on the floor doing exercises to Jack LaLanne with their father encouraging them.

"He'd have them tumbling around.  He loved those children tumbling around him," she said.

According to Caroline Kennedy, her father didn't like to read to his children, preferring to make up stories instead.  Many of them starred Caroline and a pony, and in his stories she frequently won the Grand National horse race, beating a Miss Shaw and Mrs. Throttlebottom.  In his tales, there were also sharks, a girl named Maybelle who hid in the woods, and sometimes the kids would join him on a PT boat and sink a Japanese destroyer.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


New 9/11 Tapes Show Desperate Search for Hijacked Planes

James Hardy/PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- For the first time, the full audio recordings of communications between military and civilian air traffic controllers as they were dealing with the hijackings on Sept. 11, 2001, have been made public.

The multimedia document, published by the Rutgers Law Review, provides a rare real-time look at how government agencies were responding as the hijacking of the four planes was unfolding.

"We have a problem here.  We have hijacked aircraft headed towards New York and we need you guys to, we need someone to scramble some F-16s or something up here to help us out," a worker at Boston Center's Traffic Management Unit said at 8:37 a.m., according to the recordings.  No planes had struck any targets yet.


The official on the other end of the line, unaware they were minutes away from witnessing firsthand the worst terror attack in U.S. history, asked if it was all a test.

"No, this is not an exercise, this is not a test," the worker said.

While some of the recordings had been played during the 9/11 Commission hearings in 2004, other parts had not been heard before they were transferred to the National Archives after the commission was shut down the same year.

Another portion showed the abject horror from officials as they witnessed United Flight 175 slamming into the World Trade Center.

"Hey, can you look out your window right now?... Can you see a guy at about 4,000 feet, about five East of the airport right now?... Do you see that guy -- look -- is he descending into the building also?" one official asks another.  Seconds after the person on the other end of the line says yes to all the hurried questions, the plane explodes inside the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

"Wow.  Another one just hit it hard.  Another one just hit the World Trade," someone says in the background of the recording.  "Oh my God."

The 9/11 Commission staff had started compiling the recordings and transcripts into the multimedia document released Thursday but had not completed it in time to be released with the 9/11 Commission report.

Miles Kara, a retired Army colonel and investigator for the 9/11 Commission, aided by a team from the Rutgers School of Law whose dean is former 9/11 Commission Senior Counsel John Farmer, dug out the original electronic files and completed what commission staff called the "audio monograph".

According to The New York Times, which first reported on the release of these recordings, one key tape remains unreleased: the recording from the last half hour in the cockpit of United Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania instead of its intended target in Washington, D.C.  The families of the passengers who took on the hijackers requested the audio not be made public.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Cops' Chilling Request for 'Every Ambulance' to Tucson Shooting

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Officers responding to reports of the mass shooting in Tucson Saturday can be heard in audio recordings released Thursday pleading for "every ambulance" in the area to respond to the gruesome scene.

"We need multiple med units," an officer, who does not give his name, says on the radio transmissions released Thursday by the Pima County Sheriff's Office. "Get every ambulance we have out here."

"There's a man with a semi-automatic," says another unidentified officer. "We have a caller who believes Gabrielle Giffords was shot. It sounds like many people are shot. I'm counting at least 10."

That man later is identified as Jared Loughner, the 22-year-old now accused of the shooting that killed six and injured at least 13, including Rep. Giffords, D-Ariz.

Another officer says over the radio, "Customers have tackled the suspect. They have him held down at the Safeway."

The Pima County Sheriff's Department also announced Thursday that a man walking his dog near Loughner's house found a black bag.

It was not immediately clear whether the black bag is the same one Loughner was seen removing from the trunk of his car the morning of the shooting.

"He's telling us that in the bag is what appears to be ammunition and some items from what he described to us as from a local Walmart," said R.J. Kastigar, the bureau chief at the Pima County Sheriff's Department.

Police also know Loughner bought ammunition from a Walmart on the morning of the shooting.

"This is one of the critical pieces of evidence we've been looking for," Kastigar said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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