Today in History: October 20, the “Saturday Night Massacre”

Oct 19, 2022, 9:00 AM | Updated: 9:01 pm

Today in History

Today is Thursday, Oct. 20, the 293rd day of 2022. There are 72 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Oct. 20, 2011, Moammar Gadhafi, 69, Libya’s dictator for 42 years, was killed as revolutionary fighters overwhelmed his hometown of Sirte (SURT) and captured the last major bastion of resistance two months after his regime fell.

On this date:

In 1803, the U.S. Senate ratified the Louisiana Purchase.

In 1947, the House Un-American Activities Committee opened hearings into alleged Communist influence and infiltration in the U.S. motion picture industry.

In 1967, a jury in Meridian, Mississippi, convicted seven men of violating the civil rights of slain civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner; the seven received prison terms ranging from 3 to 10 years.

In 1973, in the so-called “Saturday Night Massacre,” special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox was dismissed and Attorney General Elliot L. Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William B. Ruckelshaus resigned.

In 1976, 78 people were killed when the Norwegian tanker Frosta rammed the commuter ferry George Prince on the Mississippi River near New Orleans.

In 1977, three members of the rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd, including lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, were killed along with three others in the crash of a chartered plane near McComb, Mississippi.

In 1979, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum was dedicated in Boston.

In 1990, three members of the rap group 2 Live Crew were acquitted by a jury in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., of violating obscenity laws with an adults-only concert in nearby Hollywood the previous June.

In 2001, officials announced that anthrax had been discovered in a House postal facility on Capitol Hill.

In 2004, a U.S. Army staff sergeant, Ivan “Chip” Frederick, pleaded guilty to abusing Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison. (Frederick was sentenced to eight years in prison; he was paroled in 2007.)

In 2018, Saudi Arabia announced that U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi (jah-MAHL’ khahr-SHOHK’-jee) had been killed in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul; there was immediate international skepticism over the Saudi account that Khashoggi had died during a “fistfight.” (A U.S. intelligence report later concluded that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman had likely approved Khashoggi’s killing by a team of Saudi security and intelligence officials.)

In 2020, two weeks before Election Day, President Donald Trump called on Attorney General William Barr to immediately launch an investigation into unverified claims about Democrat Joe Biden and his son Hunter, effectively demanding that the Justice Department abandon its historic resistance to getting involved in elections.

Ten years ago: Heading into the campaign’s final weeks, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney upped his criticism of President Barack Obama’s plans for a second term, accusing the Democrat of failing to tell Americans what he would do with four more years; the Obama campaign aggressively disputed the notion, claiming it was Romney who hadn’t provided specific details to voters.

Five years ago: The U.S. government said 24 of its workers had now been confirmed to be victims of invisible attacks in Cuba. Suicide bombers struck two mosques in Afghanistan during Friday prayers, killing more than 60 people.

One year ago: Nikolas Cruz pleaded guilty to murdering 17 people during a February, 2018, rampage at his former high school in Parkland, Florida. (A jury would spare Cruz from the death penalty, instead sending him to prison for life.) Nine months after being expelled from social media for his role in inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, former President Donald Trump said he was launching a new media company with its own social media platform. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city would require its entire municipal workforce to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be placed on unpaid leave. Netflix employees staged a walkout from the company’s office-studio complex in Los Angeles in protest of a Netflix special in which comedian Dave Chappelle made anti-transgender comments. A federal court filing revealed that the NFL and lawyers for thousands of retired players had reached an agreement to end race-based adjustments in dementia testing in a $1 billion settlement of concussion claims.

Today’s Birthdays: Japan’s Empress Michiko is 88. Rockabilly singer Wanda Jackson is 85. Former actor Rev. Mother Dolores Hart is 84. Actor William “Rusty” Russ is 72. Actor Melanie Mayron is 70. Retired MLB All-Star Keith Hernandez is 69. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., is 67. Movie director Danny Boyle is 66. Former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis is 65. Actor Viggo Mortensen is 64. Vice President Kamala Harris is 58. Rock musician Jim Sonefeld (Hootie & The Blowfish) is 58. Rock musician Doug Eldridge (Oleander) is 55. Journalist Sunny Hostin (TV: “The View”) is 54. Political commentator and blogger Michelle Malkin is 52. Actor Kenneth Choi is 51. Rapper Snoop Dogg is 51. Singer Dannii Minogue is 51. Singer Jimi Westbrook (country group Little Big Town) is 51. Actor/comedian Dan Fogler is 46. Rock musician Jon Natchez (The War on Drugs) is 46. Actor Sam Witwer is 45. Actor John Krasinski is 43. Rock musician Daniel Tichenor (Cage the Elephant) is 43. Actor Katie Featherston is 40. Actor Jennifer Nicole Freeman is 37.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Today in History: October 20, the “Saturday Night Massacre”