Abramoff Sentencing Sketches


I’m often asked how many sketches I do, and the answer is always ‘that depends’. It depends on how much time I have, and whether we’re talking about finished drawings or rough sketches.


At the sentencing of Jack Abramoff this week I produced two finished drawings: the obligatory, and time consuming, wide-shot, and a tight head-shot. I might have completed more, but Nightly News dropped the story and MSNBC was only interested in the Republican Convention and the looming hurricanes.

But during the two hour hearing, which ended in the late afternoon right up against deadline, I was also working on other sketches which could have been finished if needed.


This one shows Abramoff’s lawyer Abbe Lowell arguing for his client.


This is a sketch of a member of the Saginaw Chippewa tribe delivering a victim impact statement.



Here prosecutor Mary Butler addresses the court while Abramoff looks on.


Abbe Lowell pleads for leniency in the sentencing of his client.


And, finally, the beginning of another head-shot should I need it.

If you want to read about what actually happened in the courtroom Matt Apuzzo’s story is here.

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Art Lien

Courtartist is me, Art Lien. I've been sketching the courts since 1976, and for most of that time the U.S. Supreme Court has been my regular beat. I've been working almost exclusively for NBC News since 1980. Courtroom sketching is a form of visual journalism or reportage drawing that is slowly dying out. Where once upon a time news organization each had their own artist covering a story, today a "pool" artist often sketches for all. It is a demanding and stressful discipline where the drawing is often done directly and under tight deadline.

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One comment on “Abramoff Sentencing Sketches
  1. David says:

    It’s very nice seeing your unfinished sketches. It gives an insight into the process. It might even be interesting if you showed the same sketch in different stages.

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