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Vid trial tribulations

Responding to the public’s fascination with high profile court cases, Courtroom Television Network and Time-Life Video have pacted to release a series of homevideos covering many of the nation’s newsworthy trials.

The first release will be “Accused Of Rape,” covering the William Kennedy Smith trial that garnered worldwide attention and was carried live in many cities, in addition to the Court TV coverage.

Smith, a nephew of Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy, was accused of raping a house guest at the family’s West Palm Beach estate, but was acquitted.

The homevideo pact will also include trial coverage of the New Hampshire school administrator charged with conspiring with her teenage lover to kill her husband. The vid will be called “‘Till Death Do Us Part.”

The vids will be hourlong versions of the lengthy trials, with each tape encapsulating the courtroom and testimony highlights.

Tapes will also contain explanations of the law, as well as prosecution and defense strategies in an effort to make the legal process understandable to viewers. A section of the Court TV forum on Prodigy, the on-line information service, will be set aside so viewers can debate the outcome of the trials and the issues involved.

Other trials on the release slate include the Eric and Lyle Menendez murder trial, which is currently in the hands of two juries in Van Nuys, and the highlights of the Gregory K. case — about the child who “divorced” his mother.

Vidtapes of the continuing series will be sold as sell-through titles, with Court TV and T-L securing TV advertising in major markets to promote their release.

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