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Law and Famous Trials

Dred Scott Decision

What was Dr. Mudd tried for?

Adoctor who treated the broken ankle of John Wilkes Booth (1838–1865) after Booth shot President Abraham Lincoln (on April 14, 1865; he died the next day), Samuel Mudd was later charged as an accomplice in the president’s assassination and was charged with treason and conspiracy. He was tried before a military commission and on June 30, 1865, was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. Three years later Mudd was pardoned by President Andrew Johnson (1808–1875). The official reason for the pardon was Mudd’s humanitarian efforts to save lives during a prison epidemic. But the case against him had been flimsy at best, and history has credited the guilty verdict to overly ambitious politics and a commission bent on retribution. Nevertheless, Mudd’s name remained tainted, giving the popular culture the phrase, “His name is Mudd.”



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