Author: 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.

The Core of the Manafort Trial

Quite a week. Manafort’s former partner in crime, Rick Gates, was called to testify late Monday and remained in the hot seat through Wednesday morning. Then came the real meat of the case in sometimes tedious testimony from, an FBI

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Manafort Trial, Week One

Former Trump campaign director Paul Manafort’s bank and tax fraud trial got off to a quick start this week in Alexandria’s “rocket docket” federal court. Judge T.S. Ellis, who yesterday quipped that he was a “Caesar in my own Rome”

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Manafort’s New Threads

Paul Manafort, accustomed to $10,000. House of Bijan suits, appeared instead for yesterday’s pre-trial hearing wearing an Alexandria jail issued prisoner jumpsuit. Looking disheveled, the collar of his green jumpsuit turned inside out, the usually dapper Manafort did not look

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Life Imitates Art ? The Russian Sparrow

Part “Red Sparrow”, part “The Americans”, the picture painted by the government during yesterday’s detention hearing for alleged Russian agent Maria Butina had elements of a spy thriller. Charged with failing to register as a foreign government agent, Butina, according

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Sentencing Dry-Run

An odd hearing yesterday. Last week Judge Emmet Sullivan scheduled a status hearing in United States v. Flynn, ordering the defendant, former national security advisor Michael Flynn, to attend. It was Flynn’s first appearance in court since pleading guilty last

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Capital Gazette Shooter In Court

Jarrod Ramos had his first appearance before a judge via CC TV after murdering five people with a shotgun at the offices of the Capital Gazette, a local Annapolis newspaper. Ramos, who appeared to be handcuffed, looked upward the entire

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End of SCOTUS Term . . . and the World As We Know It

Reporting on the retirement of Justice Kennedy, Nina Totenberg quoted R.E.M. “. . . it’s the end of the world as we know it”. Although rumors had been circulating for over a year most Court-watchers figured Kennedy would hold off

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Sketches From This Week’s Added Opinion Days

Monday on the Supreme Court plaza was sizzling hot, Friday was not. In fact now, on the other side of the solstice, it’s drizzling and mild. Into the home stretch now, the Court is adding opinion days to its regular

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Gerrymander Side-Step on a Hot Day

Nothing is more welcome on a broiling summer day in DC than the cool marble halls inside the Supreme Court building . Outside, by the plaza, camera crews waited under beach umbrellas for reporters with news of the Court’s latest

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Catching Up: Some SCOTUS Opinions

First things first, DC threw a parade last week to celebrate the home team Stanley Cup winners. Congratulations Washington Capitals! Below are sketches of opinions announced in three major cases, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, Husted v. A.

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