This development, in a Malaysian courtroom, truly is unprecedented. 

Former Prime Minister Najib Razak was found guilty Tuesday (July 28) on charges of abusing power and money laundering. The verdicts in the high court capped the first of a series of trials stemming from scandals at state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB. The saga enmeshed Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Hollywood and spurred an outcry that helped drive Najib’s party from government in 2018, the first time the long-suffering opposition won a general election. 

The revolution was short-lived; the new cabinet collapsed less than halfway through its five-year term, largely because its two leaders, Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim, couldn't bury decades of rivalry. But the team was in power long enough to preside over something extremely important — the arrest and charging of Najib with an array of corruption offenses, a first for anyone who ever held Malaysia’s top office. 

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