Freda Reiter – St. Clair petitions Supreme Court – Pastel Drawing

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Nixon’s refusal to hand over the White House Tapes, under a claim of “executive privilege,” led to the Supreme Court case United States vs. Nixon. White House special counsel James St. Clair’s arguments proved unsuccessful, with the Supreme Court ruling against the president on July 24, 1974.

Pastel drawing, 17″ x 14″

Signature (detail)

Watergate exhibition page

Freda L. Reiter


Since cameras were banned from courtrooms, news outlets depended on professional sketch artists like Freda Reiter for visuals. When Reiter was assigned the Watergate burglary trial, in 1973, she had no idea that she would be spending the better part of two years in Washington.

Watergate Courtroom Sketches by Freda L. Reiter, 1973–75

To provide sufficient visuals for the substantial airtime allotted to the story each night, Reiter made multiple sketches a day: close-up portraits, as well as wide-angle views of the courtroom incorporating as many as 28 figures.