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Can You Watch The Menendez Trial? Footage Of Erik & Lyle Is Available

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Crimes from the early '90s have become particularly notorious lately as the media revisits specific cases that enthralled the public decades ago when they occurred. Part of the reason certain cases — like O.J. Simpson, JonBenét Ramsey, and the Menéndez brothers — remain so lodged in the public consciousness is because of the media, and the fact that all three figured so heavily into the television news cycle. In the case of Simpson and the Menéndez brothers, their trials were even shown on TV, giving the public a front row seat to everything that was happening and getting people particularly invested in the outcome. But can you watch the Menéndez trial of Erik and Lyle anywhere? There are a few options.

For those with Amazon Prime subscriptions, Mugshots: Menéndez Brothers — Blood Brothers is a good one. As a 45-minute episode of the true crime documentary series Mugshots from TruTV, it provides an overview of the case with plenty of trial footage, as well as interviews, crime scene footage (nothing graphic), and the emergency call in which Lyle sobbingly reported finding his parents' dead bodies. It's a dated but informative look at the case.

For those without paid subscription services, YouTube comes through. Not only is the Mugshots episode easily found on site, but there are also plenty of clips of the trial uploaded to a variety of channels.

ArchiveNewsFootage on YouTube

Though greed was the motive put forth by the prosecution, possibly supported by the wild spending spree the brothers went on following the murders, the defense came up with an entirely different explanation: the brothers were in fear for their lives. They claimed that they had both been molested as children by their father (though Lyle alleged his mother had also sexually abused him) for years, and that their parents also beat them. They said they'd become convinced that their parents were planning to kill them, so the brothers decided to kill them first.

Watching the trial footage, it's easy to see why the public was so fascinated. Lyle was especially compelling as he broke down on the stand, beginning to sob as he told the court what happened on the night of the murders and also related his story of sexual abuse. It seemed incredibly convincing, but the abuse was difficult to corroborate because neither brother had spoken of it before the trial. One Princeton roommate of Lyle's claimed in an interview to have discussed the molestation with Lyle before, but on the stand he insisted he had no memory of the conversation (which was recorded), so the claims were never proven.

FilmRise True Crime on YouTube

The brothers' defense also seemed to contradict earlier statements they had made soon after their parents' murder, when in an interview, Lyle had spoken glowingly of their father and his hopes to honor his father's legacy.

It's difficult to determine what the truth is. The only thing that's certain is that Lyle and Erik did murder their parents, though their motive for doing so is still debatable. Whether or not you believe their side of events after watching the trial footage is up to you.