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Oliver North

Oliver North mugshot

The arrest of Oliver North:

He's a military historian, TV host and conservative political commentator. He's also a former U.S. Marine Corp Lieutenant Colonel and staff member of the National Security Agency.

Oliver North army photo

And that's when San Antonio, Texas native Oliver Laurence North got in big trouble, because he was tied into the Iran-Contra affair. It was a political scandal in the late 1980's, in the latter years of President Ronald Reagan's administration.

Ronald Reagan

Basically, it involved the secret sale of weapons to Iran, which was supposed to encourage the release of U.S hostages held captive in Lebanon.

The second part of the plan, authored by North, was to divert the money from the arms sales to support the Contra rebel groups in Nicaragua, which was specifically prohibited under legislation known as the Boland Amendment.

When the sale of the weapons made public in November, 1986, North was fired by Reagan. The following July, North was asked to testify before televised hearings of a joint congressional committee investigating the Iran-Contra scandal.

Oliver North testifying

While defending his actions in aiding the Contras, North also admitted shredding government documents related to the case and was tried in 1988 on 16 felony counts.

Oliver North on the cover of Time Magazine

He was convicted of three counts in May 1989: accepting an illegal gratuity, aiding in the obstruction of a Congressional inquiry, and ordering the destruction of documents through his secretary.

That July, North was sentenced to a three year suspended prison term, two years' probation, 1200 hours of community service and $150,000 in fines.

But a year later, in July 1990, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, North's convictions were vacated when an appeals court ruled that trial witnesses may have been affected by North's Congressional testimony, in which he had immunity.

North now works as a TV host and conservative political commentator.

Oliver North on Fox News
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