Smith trial is dynamite on cable networks

December 05, 1991|By New York Times

It's "Dallas." It's "Perry Mason." It's "Rashomon." With the Palm Beach partyland ambience, the Kennedy name and faces, the opening testimony of the woman known to television audiences as "the alleged victim," the trial of William K. Smith is proving to be a television spectacular.

The most powerful hours came yesterday afternoon, with the appearance of the woman -- her face obscured by a big gray dot on Cable News Network and a blur by the Courtroom Television Network -- who gave in a direct, detailed and emotional way her account of what happened to her on the night of March 29. "The man was raping me," she said.

But even if the television commentators had stopped speculating on how much the defense must be costing, the array of Kennedy clansfolk in the first row day after day sent the same message in the courtroom and on the TV screen: These are not people with a reputation for taking a back seat.

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