Oliver North became famous when he was summoned to testify in the Iran-Contra hearings. Some saw him as the public scapegoat for many other people in the Reagan administration who were involved in the Iran-Contra affair.
North was indicted March 16, 1988, on 16 felony counts. After standing trial on 12, North was convicted May 4, 1989 of three charges: accepting an illegal gratuity, aiding and abetting in the obstruction of a congressional inquiry, and destruction of documents. He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gerhard A. Gesell on July 5, 1989, to a three-year suspended prison term, two years probation, $150,000 in fines and 1,200 hours community service.
A three-judge appeals panel on July 20, 1990, vacated North's conviction for further proceedings to determine whether his immunized testimony influenced witnesses in the trial. The Supreme Court declined to review the case. Judge Gesell dismissed the case September 16, 1991, after hearings on the immunity issue, on the motion of Independent Counsel.
North wrote an autobiography, Under Fire: An American Story (ISBN 0971700915), and has authored many military thriller novels, some of which are based on his own adventures. North was also was the subject of a documentary film about an American Senatorial election in the state of Virginia, which he lost.
North is the host of "Common Sense", a right-wing radio talk show on many American stations. He has also hosted "War Stories with Oliver North" on FOX News television, and has had a small recurring role on the CBS series JAG.
North also participated as an "embedded" reporter for FOX News during the Iraq war. He was embedded with a Marine unit.
One of the most northern points on the west coast of Costa Rica, "Ollies Point", was the favorite place for North's shipments to arrive on their way to Nicaragua. It also happens to be the site of a world-class surfing wave.