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New ‘Trial’ Coming For Woman Convicted In Lincoln Assassination Plot

Abraham Lincoln

President Abraham Lincoln. (Credit: CBS)

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — A woman who may have been wrongly convicted – and hanged – for conspiring to kill President Abraham Lincoln is getting something of another chance.

Mary Surratt was convicted of conspiring with assassin John Wilkes Booth, who regularly visited her boarding house in Washington, D.C. Booth was alleged to have hatched a plot to kidnap and assassinate Lincoln while at the boarding house.

He also stopped at Surratt’s tavern in Surrattsville, Md., to retrieve a rifle as he fled following the assassination.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Dave Dahl reports

Surratt and other alleged co-conspirators were tried under a military tribunal, and Surratt was hanged on July 7, 1865.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Dave Dahl reports, Dave Blanchette of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library says the dramatic Surratt retrial will be held on Sept. 23 in Chicago and Oct. 3 in Springfield.

“This is a reality show with a history lesson,” Blanchette said. “We’re taking a historical character who was found guilty and executed 146 years ago. We’re drudging her up, giving her a new trial with modern attorneys, modern courtroom proceedings, and a jury of her peers – in other words 250 audience members at each location – to determine her guilt or innocence. We literally do not know how this is going to end.”

The Chicago Surratt re-trial will be held at the Pritzker Auditorium at the Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State St. The Springfield retrial will be at the Union Theater at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.

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