Honest Man: the Life of R. Budd Dwyer is a movie about politics and corruption, suicide and survival. Four years in the making, it explores the scandal that led an honest, hard-working man to take his own life. This independently produced feature-length documentary follows Budd Dwyer, a Pennsylvania politician who infamously committed suicide at a televised press conference. The film chronicles Dwyer's meteoric rise to political power and examines the bribery scandal and subsequent trial that pushed him to his breaking point. Honest Man also delves into the controversy and consequences of the uncensored airing of Dwyer's death on television stations worldwide. Honest Man reveals a story that has remained untold for over 24 years. The film features exclusive new interviews, including William Smith, the man whose testimony convicted Dwyer, and Dwyer's widow Joanne--her last interview before her death in 2009. Was Dwyer venal, or a victim? Did he kill himself because he couldn't live with being guilty, or because he couldn't live with being innocent? Honest Man allows audiences to judge for themselves.
- Honest Man is a movie about politics and corruption, suicide and survival. Four years in the making, it explores the scandal that led an honest, hard-working man to take his own life.
R. Budd Dwyer, a farm boy from the northwest of the state, was a very successful Pennsylvania politician. In 1980, on the strength of his squeaky-clean reputation, he was elected to the statewide office of Treasurer.
Dwyer soon began to run afoul of Governor Dick Thornburgh, rejecting some of his padded expense vouchers and questioning the use of state troopers to transport his children to boarding school.
Shortly thereafter, prosecutor James West, Governor Thornburgh's protege, indicted Budd on bribery charges. William T. Smith, a lawyer for a company called CTA, claimed to have met with Budd and offered him $300,000 to give his client a state contract.
Dwyer was convicted on the strength of Smith's testimony. The day before his sentencing, he shot himself at a press conference while television cameras rolled. Over twenty years later, that shocking video is still circulating on the Internet.
Was Dwyer venal, or a victim? Did he kill himself because he couldn't live with being guilty--or because he couldn't live with being innocent?
The film features exclusive new interviews with Dwyer's family, friends, and colleagues, including Dwyer's widow Joanne and William T. Smith, whose testimony convicted Dwyer. This portrait of a man swept up in the turbulent and cutthroat political world of the 1980s raises important questions about Dwyer's presumed guilt.