WTVT news director Jim West at the 1980 Republican convention.
It was my
privilege to cover for WTVT both 1980 national political conventions in
By 1980, a handful of TV stations were utilizing satellites to send daily
reports, or even live anchors from their
|WTVT was first to use satellites to cover news from outside the market.
The catalyst was the Abscam trial of Congressman Richard Kelly of the Fifth
Congressional District, comprising several of the counties in the northern
portion of the Channel 13 viewing area. I was assigned to cover the trial which
was beginning late in the year in
Cong. Richard Kelly interviewed
Abscam was a sting operation begun in 1978 by the Federal
Bureau of Investigation. The FBI created a front, Abdul Enterprises, Ltd., hence
Abscam, for its agents, who, posing as associates of an Arab sheik, offered
selected public officials money or other considerations in exchange for special
favors. The videotaped meetings resulted in the indictments in 1980 and
ultimately the convictions of one senator and four congressmen, among them
Richard Kelly, whose conviction was later overturned.
Kelly was caught red-handed on tape. After pocketing the money in the videotape he turned to one of the agents and said "Does it show?" Kelly's defense was even more bizarre, claiming that he took the money as part of his own probe into congressional corruption.