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Mary Todd Lincoln Insanity Case To Be 'Retried' This Fall

Posted: 03/23/2012 11:49 am Updated: 03/23/2012 11:49 am

Mary Todd Lincoln Insanity Retrial
This is a photograph of an undated daguerreotype of first lady Mary Todd Lincoln. (AP Photo/Library of Congress)

Former First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of Abraham Lincoln, will be "retried" for insanity this fall in Illinois.

According to the Associated Press, the retrial reenactment events will be sponsored by the Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission in conjunction with Springfield's Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

Mrs. Lincoln was initially tried, at the request of her son Robert, on allegations that she was insane in 1875, a decade after her husband's death, GateHouse News Services reports. Lincoln was declared a "lunatic" and brought to Bellevue Sanitarium in Batavia, Ill. A second jury considering the matter later considered her sane and historians have long disagreed over whether Lincoln would be deemed insane under today's health laws.

The events will kick off with an April 16 roundtable discussion addressing Lincoln's life and mental health issues and taking a modern-day look on her insanity trial. Retrials, utilizing modern-day lawyers and judges considering actors playing Robert and Mary Lincoln in period costumes, will be held Sept. 24 at Murphy Auditorium, 50 East Erie St. in Chicago, and Oct. 1 at the Lincoln museum in Springfield.

The audience at the two retrials will act as judges, determining whether, based on the expert testimony, they believe Lincoln was sane.

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Filed by Joseph Erbentraut  |