Eagleton's Reelection Bid Interrupted By Trial of Niece on Extortion Charge - 1980-10-20
Sen. Thomas F. Eagleton (D-Mo.) is making few campaign apearances as the trial of his niece, who is charged with trying to extort $220,000 from him, unfolds in federal court here.
Polls indicate that Eagleton, who is seeking a third term in the Nov. 4 election, holds a large lead over his Republican opponent, St. Louis County Executive Gene McNary, who is barn-storming around the state by helicopter. eBut, said one long-time state political observer, "That trial may be the story of the campaign."
The senator's niece, Elizabeth (Libby) (Eagleton Weigand, and her former attorney, Stephen E. Poludniak, are accused of trying to extort the money from Eagleton by threatening to release unspecified damaging material about him.