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The Richest Family in the World Charged with Federal Crime

Attorney Chuck Lanehart uncovers a high profile trial in Lubbock’s history in this week’s Caprock Chronicle.

Part one explores the Hunt family, and how two brothers and heirs to the Hunt oil fortune became entangled in controversy.

Starting in 1969, private detectives were hired by Bunker and Herbert Hunt. Illegal wiretaps were placed on executives in Dallas at the company their father founded. Ultimately an indictment was delivered by a grand jury for obstruction of justice and interception of electronic communications. The brothers had been accused of serious federal crimes and could face 10 years in prison.

When the scandal became public, interest in the case was high due to the size of the family’s fortune. A comparable figure today might be Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett or Bill Gates. At the time, the Hunt family was one of the world’s wealthiest.

To prevent a biased jury selection process, the trial was moved to Lubbock and began in 1975. The case hung on motive for the wiretapping. To complicate matters for the prosecution, the executives wiretapped by the Hunts had been convicted for embezzlement.

In part two, Lanehart reveals how the Hunt brothers charisma and character witnesses swayed the jury. Many members of the Hunt family gathered in Lubbock to show support for the defendants. Read on to learn the verdict and outcome of the brothers in future years.

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