When it comes to investigative news videos, most popular does not always mean most entertaining. In fact, in many cases, it's the most shocking footage that audiences across the web have come back to watch time and time again, making them our most viewed videos of the year.
The most watched investigative news videos from the Blotter in 2009 range from international human rights abuses to an on-the-street interview with someone who became one of the central figures of the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign.
But what all of these videos have in common is that you have to see them to believe them.
1) UAE Torture Video - Click here to watch.
The most viewed Blotter video of the year was not for the faint of heart. It showed in graphic detail the drawn-out physical beating of an Afghan grain dealer by a royal Sheikh, including whipping and brutalization with cattle prods and wood planks studded with nails. The video also shows a man in a UAE police uniform holding the grain dealer down as the Sheikh pours salt on his wounds. The wounded man is then run over by a Mercedes SUV.
The Internet enabled the video to reach audiences worldwide, sparking an international outcry. After ABC News broke the story, the UAE government announced it was investigating the torture tape and put the Sheikh on trial in December on torture charges. At his trial, a forensic expert testified for the defense that Sheikh Issa's behavior on the video tape could have been caused by a combination of medications he was taking at the time. The Sheikh has pleaded not guilty and a verdict is anticipated Jan. 10. He faces a maximum of three years in prison.
2) A Girl Being Beaten by the Taliban - Click here to watch.
The video lasts just 10 seconds, but it captivated viewers across the country with its graphic nature and horrifying images of what can happen when you cross the Taliban. In this video, a young woman is held down by two different men and whipped more than 30 times as her teenage screams of terror and pain ring out. Her crime? According to the Taliban and local residents, she was brutally beaten for hosting a man in her house and allegedly having a physical relationship with him.
3) Bernie Madoff Under House Arrest in His Penthouse - Click here to watch.
After Bernie Madoff confessed his multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme to law enforcement officials, viewers across the country were shocked when he was sent home to his multi-million dollar Manhattan penthouse to await his fate. And they were fascinated to see what he was doing behind closed doors, which ABC News cameras caught exclusively on tape.
4) Brian Ross and Bill Ayers - Click here to watch.
When Bill Ayers became a central figure in the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign after opponents of then-Senator Barack Obama called him a "washed up terrorist" and questioned his relationship with Obama, everyone seemed anxious to hear Ayers' response. The issue wasn't what he said, but that he wouldn't say anything at all. This video shows ABC News' Brian Ross' attempt to ask Ayers these questions on the streets of New York City after Ayers, who was part of a political group in the 1960s and 1970s that bombed public buildings to protest the Vietnam War, left a speaking engagement in New York City.
5) Audio: Mahoney Fires Mistress - Click here to listen.
Last but not least, one of the most-watched videos of the year on the Blotter actually didn't show audiences anything at all. In fact, it was an audio tape offered as a multi-media element on our video player that presented a recording of Democratic Florida Rep. Tim Mahoney firing his mistress. Click here to hear what happened.