What It’s Like Sketching the Nation’s Most High Profile Trials

A 45-year veteran artist reveals her craft

By Joaquim Salles and Patrick Mulligan

Christine Cornell has been drawing trials for 45 years. She has been witness to serial killers—David Berkowitz (Son of Sam), to name one—and Leona Helmsley’s tax evasion and everything in between. When Mark David Chapman shot John Lennon, Cornell was in the stands of the courtroom. When five Harlem boys were tried for the rape of a Central Park jogger, she had her binoculars out and sketched the trial. And now, through every stage of Harvey Weinstein’s trial, Cornell has documented the proceedings. After all these years, she still loves her job. Every trial is a new story, a new cast of characters waiting to be drawn. 

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