Historic World Events / September / The “Chicago Seven” go on trial
The “Chicago Seven” go on trial

The “Chicago Seven” go on trial

The trial of the “Chicago Seven” starts before Judge Julius Hoffman. The defendants, including David Dellinger of the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (MOBE) Rennie Davis and Tom Hayden of MOBE and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS)and Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman of the Youth International Party (Yippies), had been accused of conspiring to incite a riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

At the height of the antiwar and civil rights movements, these young leftists had organized protest marches and rock concerts at the Democratic National Convention. During the function, clashes broke out between the protesters and the authorities and converted into complete-scale rioting eventually, filled with tear police and gas beatings. The press, currently there to cover the Democratic convention, denounced the overreaction by police and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s handling of the predicament.

The Chicago Seven were indicted for violating the Rap Brown law, which have been tagged onto the Civil Rights Bill earlier that year by conservative senators. The law created it illegal to cross state lines to be able to riot or even to conspire to utilize interstate commerce to incite rioting. President Johnson’s lawyer common, Ramsey Clark, refused to prosecute the entire case.

Although Bobby Seale of the Black Panthers was originally a defendant in the trial as properly, he angrily denounced Judge Hoffman as a racist for denying his obtain another trial. He wished to be represented by his personal lawyer, who was simply dealing with surgery at the proper time, so he protested by wanting to examine his personal witnesses loudly. Judge Hoffman took the unusual way of measuring getting Seale bound and gagged at the defendant’s table right before ultimately separating his trial and sentencing him to 48 months in prison.

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With encouragement from defense attorney William Kunstler, the seven other defendants did no matter what they might to disrupt the trial via such acts as reading poetry and chanting Hare Krishna. While the jury was deliberating their verdict, Judge Hoffman held the defendants in contempt of court because of their behavior and sentenced them to around 29 months in jail. Kunstler received a four-year sentence, partly for calling Hoffman’s court a “medieval torture chamber.” Five of the Chicago Seven have been convicted of lesser charges.

In 1970, the convictions and contempt charges contrary to the Chicago Seven have already been overturned on appeal. Abbie Hoffman remained a properly-identified counterculture activist till his death in 1989. Tom Hayden proceeded to marry actress Jane Fonda and is nevertheless a prominent liberal politician in California, currently married to actress Barbara Williams.

Source: History