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16-11-1969

U.S. Army on trial

U.S. Army Lieutenant William Calley Jr. faces court martial for directing his platoon in the March 1968 massacre of 102 unarmed peasants in My Lai, South Vietnam. The Army hoped to conduct Calley's trial in secret, but a freelance reporter named Seymour Hersh uncovered and published details of the massacre on November 13. Calley was eventually convicted, but was freed three years later when a U.S. federal judge ruled the conviction unconstitutional. The Army had originally sentenced him to life, then changed the sentence to 20 years, then to 10 years in prison, and finally he was freed entirely. A number of others were charged for their participation in the slayings and subsequent cover-up but only Calley was convicted. Eyewitness accounts revealed that U.S. troops murdered between 300 and 500 unarmed women, children, and elderly men at My Lai.