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Mob Museum celebrates Kefauver Hearings anniversary

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Reported by: Michelle Velez
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Updated: 11/15/2012 8:25 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- On this day 62 years ago, the Kefauver Hearings took place in Las Vegas.

The hearings, led by U.S. Sen. Estes Kefauver, exposed the nation to organized crime in the U.S. and forever changed the way some of this country's most infamous criminals did business.

Today, inside the Mob Museum in downtown Las Vegas, the Kefauver Hearings once again will take center stage

The Kefauver Hearings essentially launched the fight against organized crime in this country.

They took place over a 15-month period between 1950 and 1951 in a series of 14 hearings across the nation.

More than 800 witnesses testified including some of the most notorious mob bosses. The courtroom in the mob museum was the very room where the seventh hearing took place on Nov. 15, 1950.

Many historians credit the hearings with cementing Las Vegas as the gaming capital of the country since the crackdown on illegal gambling after the hearings drove gambling operators to Nevada.

Nevada became known as the open state and the only state in the country where gambling was then legal.

Kefavuer became a household name. He beat John F. Kennedy during the 1956 primaries and became the democratic nominee for vice president on the Adlai Stevenson ticket. They lost to President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon.

The hearings also gave the nation its first taste of reality television. They brought in more than 30 million viewers, more than the 1950s World Series.
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