In the '70s, a family that owned newspapers could still be considered one of the most famous and wealthy in the nation. ET Sundays on CNN. At her trial for bank robbery, Hearst said she had been brainwashed by the group and feared for her life, but a jury found her guilty. (CNN)The kidnapping of Patty Hearst can seem as distant in time as a yellowed newspaper clipping -- and as current as today's bit-borne headline. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. Patty Hearst (1988), Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst (2004) and The Radical Story of Patty Hearst (2018). His name is. The case captivated the entire country as it stirred the national consciousness about issues such as brainwashing, free will and the collective insanity that gripped the United States in the 1970s. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyToobin.

Security cameras captured this image of Hearst in the robbery. There were more than 1,000 politically inspired bombings every year in the United States during the early part of the decade, and politically inspired violence became a fact of everyday life. But the news business as a whole was a much smaller enterprise in those days. She also starred in some feature films … For more on the kidnapping, watch "The Radical Story of Patty Hearst," for which Toobin is an executive producer, at 9 p.m. On April 3, just two months after her kidnapping, the SLA released a tape announcing Hearst's alignment with the organization -- including taking the name Tania. ET. ", Who was that US attorney?

With her is her fiance and former bodyguard, Bernard Shaw. So the kidnapping of Patty Hearst was aberrational, but not that far afield from what was already happening -- and that alone was a sign of how close our country was in those days to a collective nervous breakdown.

SLA leader Donald DeFreeze is at top left. Once she was captured, Hearst was placed on trial, defended by the legendary F. Lee Bailey, and ultimately convicted for the armed bank robbery. We live today in the shadow of ISIS and al Qaeda, and the threat of random bombings haunts both the public and the government that is supposed to protect us.

A photo of her holding a gun in front of the SLA's seven-headed cobra emblem was also released.

Consider, for example, the subject of terrorism. This became the new standard for news, and everyday coverage -- to say nothing of. Police said they believed Hearst was blindfolded and thrown into the trunk of this car, which was photographed at the Berkeley Police Department on February 5, 1974. Eventually she was offered the choice of joining the SLA or being killed. On April 15, 1974, the SLA robbed a Hibernia Bank branch in San Francisco. But whether you can recall those moments or not, the same thing is true: When it comes to the Patty Hearst kidnapping, you don't know the half of it. Her prosecutors have always regarded her very differently, and their words -- and even their names -- also have a contemporary resonance.

For more, watch "The Radical Story of Patty Hearst" Sundays at 9 p.m.

Here, she mugs for the camera at the Federal Correctional Institute at Pleasanton, California, on January 31, 1979.

Hearst holds up the executive grant of clemency as she leaves prison on February 1, 1979. The crime was committed by a radical group called the Symbionese Liberation Army, or SLA. World. Hearst was released on bail on November 19, 1976, while her attorneys appealed her case. At her trial, in her memoir and in many years of interviews (Hearst declined to talk to CNN for our documentary), she has maintained that she was coerced and abused by her captors, and she has insisted that she only participated in their crimes because she feared being killed by them if she refused. The rough outlines of the story will be familiar to news consumers of a certain age: On February 4, 1974, Patricia Campbell Hearst, heiress to the greatest newspaper fortune in the land, was kidnapped from her home in Berkeley, California, by a little-known revolutionary cell called the Symbionese Liberation Army. In an autobiography, Hearst details her abuse at the hands of the SLA. "I strongly oppose the pardon application filed by Patricia Hearst," the US attorney wrote, "The attitude of Hearst has always been that she is a person above the law and that, based on her wealth and social position, she is not accountable for her conduct, despite the jury's verdict. After Hearst served nearly two years in prison, President Jimmy Carter commuted her sentence in early 1979. In that pre-cable and pre-internet era, national news consisted little more than three evening news shows and the "Today" show in the morning. And the key elements that play out in the saga -- terrorism, the role of the media, wealth and celebrity -- are as relevant today as they were more than 40 years ago. Following a bumbling manhunt by the FBI, six members of the SLA were cornered and then killed in a shootout in Los Angeles. There's also the place of the news media in our society at the time. On that night in February, Hearst was abducted at gunpoint from the apartment she shared in Berkeley, California, with her fiance, Steven Weed, seen here with Hearst.

Hearst was elsewhere at the time and spent the next year and a half on the run from the authorities. A pioneering local news operation in Los Angeles sent a newfangled contraption called a minicam to the SLA shootout in Los Angeles, and the conflagration wound up being broadcast live around the country. ("Good Morning America" did not begin until 1975. ), News technology was in its infancy, too, but change was coming -- and, of course, this kidnapping helped bring it about.

Special preview: The Radical Story of Patty Hearst, American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst, Learn more about the Patty Hearst saga: Subscribe to CNN's 'Patty Has a Gun'. Within weeks, she stunned the world by announcing that she had joined forces with her captors and was seen wielding a machine gun as the group robbed a bank in San Francisco. But the threat of a bombing was far greater in the 1970s -- and these weren't just threats, they were reality. You may have heard of him. Patty Hearst, the granddaughter of famed publisher William Randolph Hearst, was kidnapped more than 40 years ago on February 4, 1974. See photos from the crime that rocked America.

In the book, she says she was kept locked in a closet for 57 days, as well as subjected to radical rantings, physical abuse and rape. Four days after the robbery, the FBI released this wanted poster, featuring Hearst, far right, as a material witness, among other SLA members suspected of taking part in the heist. Jeffrey Toobin is CNN's chief legal analyst and author of "American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst." Fundamentally, though, the story is timeless, because at its core it's a mystery about why human beings do what they do.

Here, she is reunited with her parents, Catherine and Randolph Hearst, in their San Francisco home on November 20, 1976. She was sentenced to seven years in prison.

When Hearst applied for a presidential pardon in 2000, the US attorney in San Francisco objected in outraged terms. With her family also including parents Randolph A. Hearst -- who at the time was the chairman of media empire Hearst Corp. -- and Catherine Hearst, a University of California regent, Patty Hearst grew up as a member of the California Bay Area's elite. And then, after that fateful February 4, she became one of the most famous women in America. Updated 1927 GMT (0327 HKT) February 8, 2018. Still, the heart of the Hearst story is the mystery of the woman herself.

The appeal was denied and Hearst returned to prison. Hearst was arrested in San Francisco on September 18, 1975, 19 months after the kidnapping.

During their months-long search for Hearst, police came across a Symbionese Liberation Army hideout at 1827 Golden Gate Avenue in San Francisco. Hearst is walked down the aisle by her father, Randolph Hearst, at the Navy chapel at her wedding to Bernard Shaw in April 1979. Extended cut: 'The Radical Story of Patty Hearst' Search.

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