Nearly 39 years after the former Manson “family” member leveled a Colt .45-caliber pistol at President Gerald R. Ford in Sacramento’s Capitol Park, one of the last and most intriguing pieces of evidence from the case has been made available to the public: the audio tape of [Lynette "Squeaky"] Fromme’s pretrial psychiatric examination while she was being held in jail.
The 132-minute recording offers a glimpse into the mindset of the would-be assassin and her matter-of-fact demeanor as she tries to convince the psychiatrist that she should be allowed to act as her own lawyer at trial.
U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller granted release of the recording in response to a motion filed in November by The Sacramento Bee. The judge’s order, issued last week, followed her decision in August to release another historic piece of evidence: the videotaped deposition of President Ford, part of the evidence used by the government to obtain a guilty verdict from a jury.
The Fromme recording, portions of which can be heard on www.sacbee.com/history, was made Sept. 21, 1975, just more than two weeks after Fromme, then 26, aimed her pistol at the president while he was on his way to a meeting with then-and-current Gov. Jerry Brown.
The gun did not go off. Fromme was wrestled to the ground by a Secret Service agent, a Sacramento police officer and bystanders, and was arrested.
During the recording, Fromme speaks clearly and confidently about her ability to represent herself and win an acquittal. She also discusses her past drug use and her interactions with convicted mass murderer Charles Manson.