The Confidential Magazine Trial: A Chronology

The bodies of star prosecution witness Howard Rushmore and his wife Frances, after a murder-suicide in a New York City taxi on January 3, 1958
December 1952
First issue of Confidential is published.  The press run is 150,000 copies.
April 1953
Popular broadcaster and columnist Walter Winchell, pleased with a Confidential story taking his side in a controversy, begins promoting the magazine, boosting sales dramatically.
Confidential runs exposing the sexual indiscretion of the celebrities raning from scientist Robert Oppenheimer (an affair with a leftist medical student) to Lucy's husband Desi Arnaz (encounters with "vice dollies").
Circulation of Confidential hits 5 million.  Stories published during the year include Tab Hunter (a "pajama party" for young men),  Marlene Dietrich ("playing both sides of the street" and having an affair with "a blonde Amazon"), and Robert Mitchum (exposing himself and covering his private parts with ketchup at a private dinner party) and a story about Joe DiMaggio recruiting Frank Sinatra to assault the new lover of his ex-wife, Marilyn Monroe.
As the Confidential continues to publish stories about various Hollywood stars and their scandals, publisher Robert Harrison receives visits from thugs and several death threats.
March 1957
The March 1957 issue of Confidential features a story suggesting that actress Maureen O'Hara had sex in the balcony of Grauman's Chinese Theatre.  The story causes O'Hara to file a libel suit and become a witness for the prosecution in the criminal libel trial.
May 1957 
Under heavy pressure from Hollywood to do something about Confidential, California Attorney General Pat Brown announces that he will attempt to indict Confidential and Robert Harrison for criminal libel and the publication of obscene materials.
May 15, 1957
A California grand jury indicts eleven people and five companies (including Harrison and Confidential and its sister publications) for criminal libel and the publication or distribution of obscene materials.  The indictment also charges violations of California's business code for the articles "The Pill That Ends Unwanted Pregancies" and "Pega Palo--The Vine That Makes You Virile."
July 1957
The July 1957 issue of Confidential is barred from distribution in California.  (The cover story is "Why Liberace's Theme Song Should be 'Mad About the Boy'" and alleges Liberace had a homosexual relationship with a press agent.)
August 3, 1957
The Confidential trial opens in the Los Angeles courtroom of Judge Herbert V. Walker.  (Seeking to avoid defense subpoenas, many of the Hollywood stars mentioned in Confidential stories are temporarily residing at sea or elsewhere outside of California's borders.)
August 7, 1957
The prosecution calls its first witness in the Confidential trial, Howard Rushmore.
August 15, 1957
Deputy District Attorney William Ritzi begins reading Confidential stories (such as "Only the Birds and the Bees saw What Dorothy Dandridge Did in the Woods") into the court record
September 4, 1957
Maureen O"Hara begins her testimony as a prosecution witness.
September 1957
In a statement in the September issue of Confidential, Harrison defends his magazine against charges of libel and obscenity. On September 16, the Confidential case goes to the jury.
October 1, 1957
The jury announces that it has been unable to reach a verdict.  The jury was split, seven for conviction and five for acquittal.  Prosecutor Ritzi announces that he intends to retry the case.
November 12, 1957
Robert Harrison announces that Confidential will no longer publish stories about the private lives of Hollywood stars.  The state drops all charges except for one count of conspiring to publish obscene materials, carrying a $5000 fine.
January 3, 1958
Star prosecution witness, and former Confidential employee Howard Rushmore shoots his wife and then himself inside a New York City taxi.
April 1958
In a statement to his readers, Robert Harrison says that Confidential will change direction and begin focusing more on politics
May 1958
Robert Harrison sells Confidential.
April 1964
Thomas Wolfe published and article in Esquire about Robert Harrison: "Confidential Magazine: Reflections in Tranquility by the Former Owner, Robert Harrison, Who Managed to Get Away with It."
Robert Harrison dies.  Confidential ceases publication.

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