Chicago 8 - The Hanging Judge | 2


The United States district court for the northern district of Illinois eastern division is housed in the federal building in Chicago's loop. It's plain black steel and glass, stretching thirty stories into the sky on the twenty third floor hundreds of prospective jurors sit in silence as a judge address the room. It's jury selection time for the Chicago eight and things are not going well for the defense. Those accused are charged with conspiring to cross state lines to incite a riot. With teaching the making of incendiary devices with committing acts to impede law enforcement officers in their lawful duties objection is it possible to recite that charges in a less, dramatic fashion. Your honour sounds like Orson Welles reading the declaration of independent overruled. May I proceed Mr. counselor lead defense attorney William consular sits down dejected. Yes. Your honor? Now. Where were we MS Peterson? What is your current marital status? I'm married. Your honor consulate turns to his cO, cancel Leonard wine glass. Now, he's ignoring all our questions on purpose. He is judge Julius Hoffman. He's a seventy four year old Republican any prides himself on quick and efficient jury selection, but consular wants these jurors to answer real questions like do you have any hostile feelings towards persons whose lifestyle differ considerably from your own, do, you know, who Jefferson airplane country, Joe, and the fish, Phil oaks or the fogs are do you consider marijuana habit forming in other words, how likely are you to be biased against the eight counterculture radicals about to go on trial? But the judge is in having it normally for such a high profile case the court would spend several days carefully selecting twelve jurors and twelve. Hornets next your age twenty one year on thank you. That'll be all judge Hoffman gets the job done in one day. You're dismissed. When it's over defense co counsel. Leonard wine glass stares at the jury in disbelief ten women two men mostly middle aged Jesus Christ. Typically, Bill consular has a lot more faith in the system than his clients. Do he voted for democrat Hubert Humphrey, a few months ago in the contentious nineteen sixty eight presidential election when he walks into a courtroom he believes in the blindfolded lady with the scales? But now consular's faith is getting a serious test and the trial hasn't even started. He glances over his clients terms to wine glass, and drops his voice down south. They have a term for judge like this on. What's that? Shipping can be complex with the uncertainty over costs and deciding which carried us, plus tracking your packages things can get confusing. Now, there's a better way to ship send pro online by Pitney Bowes with send pro online. It's easy to save time and money, no matter what you sent from letters and packages to overnights and flats and you'll always get the rate that's best for you was sent pro online. You can easily compare USPS and other shipping options in an all in one online tool print shipping, labels and stamps on your own printer and track all of your shipments. Plus when the US postal rates increase on January twenty seventh you'll still be able to access savings of up to forty percent off USPS priority, mail shipping and five cents off every letter you send just by using central online. Send pro online is only fourteen ninety nine per month. And you can get a. Free thirty day trial when you visit PBA dot com slash legal wars. He'll also receive a free ten pounds scale to help. You weigh your packages and accurately calculate the cost of shipping. That's PB dot com slash legal wars, and you can experience the convenience of send pro online for yourself when you sign up for a thirty day free trial, and thanks to Pitney Bowes and send pro online for sponsoring the show. From wondering, I'm hill Harper, and this is legal wars. This is episode two in our three part series. Revisiting the trial of the Chicago eight the hanging judge. When the trial began in nineteen sixty-nine, it captured the nation's attention, even in the midst of almost unprecedent political turmoil. Things had come to a head in August of nineteen sixty eight when riots consume the city of Chicago during the week of the democratic national convention, thousands gathered to protest US action in Vietnam and the cops crackdown. It was a war in the streets a national scandal. The federal government blame the protesters and brought charges against eight prominent activists and the trial was about more than just who threw the first punch during the trial. The radicals and establishment interrogated each other literally and symbolically on one side, the eight liberal defendants, ABBIE. Hoffman, Jerry Rubin. Bobby seale? Dave Dellinger Rennie Davis. Tom hayden. John Foin and. Lee winer on the other side, the US government judge Julius Hoffman. And the sitting mayor of Chicago, Richard J Daley it was a battle for the soul of American culture and both sides plan to win by any means necessary from the very beginning. Everyone could see that this trial was going to be wild. And what you're about to hear is taken word for word from what was actually said in the courtroom. It was a battle. On the first day of the trial spectators, hoping to glimpse the action lineup around the block starting at the crack of dawn it's early fall, but already freezing Chicago, strong winds blowing off Lake Michigan can chill you to the bone. Local news truce film cameras at the ready huddle in vans ready to jump out when the defendants arrive the police as always are on hand in case. There's trump. One by one the defendants, enter the courtroom and almost immediately. The actress begin the jury will please disregard the kiss blown by defendant hate the defendants are charged with conspiracy to travel interstate with the intent to incite organize promote encourage participate in and carry out a riot. John phones and Lee winer are charged with teaching others how to make incendiary devices and the other six Hoffman. Ruben seal Hayden Dellinger Davis are charged with inciting violence added up each defendant faces ten years behind bars, the prim proper and perpetually outraged assistant US attorney Richard Scholz is here to remind the jury why the government, ladies and gentlemen of the jury will prove in this case the case, which you will witnesses jurors and overall plan of the eight defense. In this case, which was to encourage numerous people to come to the city of Chicago people who planned legitimate protest during the democratic national convention, which was held in Chicago in August of nineteen sixty eight from August twenty sixth through August twenty ninth nineteen sixty eight they plan to bring these people into Chicago to protest legitimately protest as I said, creating a situation in this city where these people would come to Chicago would riot the defendants in perpetrating this offense, they the defendant crossed state lines themselves at defendant. Tom Hayden is a pretty brilliant, man. But even he is having trouble following this meandering opening statement. He looks over at the jury they seem as board as he feels Hayden notices. Several of the jurors looking back in his direction Schultz now naming the defendants says Tom Hayden Hayden. Cheerlead salutes? The jurors with a raised fist judge Hoffman. Immediately cuts the prosecutor off Mr. Marshall, please excuse the jury from the courtroom the jurors leave Hoffman continues and addresses Schultz. Who is the last defence you named Mr. Haden, the one that shook his fist in the direction of the jury that is my customary greeting your honor, it may be your customary greeting. But we do not allow shaking a fists in this courtroom. I made that clear it implied. No disrespect for the jury. It is my customary greeting, regardless of what an implies, sir. There will be no fish shaking. And I cautioned you not to repeat it with Hayden cautioned. And the jury brought back in Schultz continues to state the government's case against the defendants. He outlines a three step plan. These alleged conspirators employed to invite protesters to Chicago with the explicit goal of sparking violent large scale confrontation in some then, ladies and gentlemen. The government will prove that the eight defendants charged here conspired together to use interstate commerce and the facilities of interstate commerce to incite into further a ride in Chicago. It's now defense attorney William counselors, turn to speak, and he has one central point to make he readily agrees that there was a conspiracy. But from his point of view this conspiracy wasn't hatched by his clients sitting in some dark shadowy basement somewhere plotting to ensure the streets of Chicago ran red with blood. No, instead, he points the finger in a different direction, which raises the stakes the real conspiracy was against these defendants, but we are going to show that the real. Conspiracy is not against these defendants as individuals because they are unimportant as individuals. The real attempt was the real attack was on the rights of everybody all of us. American citizens all to protest under the first amendment to the constitution. Consular is pleased with what feels like a solid and well put opening statement. But when he sits back down he can see his clients are furious during a recess they let their lead attorney habit. What the hell you think it that was your opening statement? This was our chance to tell them. Why were really hear what we're really fighting for calmed down abbey? You blew it. Bill. Can't even believe this Tom could you it's not about our right? It's not about the first amendment. We don't care about any of that. What we care about is the soldiers dying in Vietnam. I thought you understood. It's decided Leonard wine glass will make these points when the defendants return to court, but he can't every time he mentions Vietnam. Judge Hoffman tells him not to talk about antiwar positions. Finally, judge Hoffman yells at him. Mr. Weisglass, I think you're persistency and disregarding direction of court and the law in the face of repeated ammunitions is consummated conduct. And I find it on the record. He's accusing wine glass of outright disrespect and refusing to obey the judge's thority. That's going to be a theme throughout the trial. Opening statements complete more or less, the fundamental question is established are these eight men often profane often theatrical always outspoken in their criticism of America. A sinister cabal did they advocate for violence in Chicago. And get exactly what they were hoping for. Or are they well intentioned idealists unjustly facing punishment from a duplicitous federal government trying to squash dissent, just who are the Chicago. Eight. Judge Hoffman has forbidden cameras in the courtroom, so magazines newspapers and TV networks. Send sketch artists to depict the drama as it unfolds on day one cartoonist Jules Pfeiffer captures judge Hoffman resting his head against his right hand in oppose of wearied agitation. Part of what he finds so irritating about these radicals is that they're radical in different ways, the eight have recognized this from the beginning. It's the government that decided to try them as a group forcing them to appear in court together like some sort of protests super team. Is their mutual respect between them. Sure. But Tom thinks Abby and Jerry waste time with their endless clowning, Abby. And Jerry thing. Tom is square up tight? Dave Dellinger believes there's no excuse for violence for any reason ever. Bobby Seale is a Black Panther who believes in the right to armed self-defence whiner and Freund are Spiring professors when abbey Hoffman thinks about at all. He just has to laugh these guys in conspiracy. L they can't even agree on lunch. But judge Hoffman is not laughing. He sees a group of defendants and their lawyers clearly scheming to undermine his court. I wanna make a statement just a minute, sir. Who is your lawyer Bobby Seale directly at the Judge Charles r Gary. As judge Hoffman knows along with everyone else. Charles. Our Gary is not in this courtroom Hoffman asks the jury to leave the courtroom for the third time today. It's only eleven o'clock. Maybe you forgotten so much has happened already. Charles are Gary is Bobby seals lawyer, but he isn't in the courtroom because he's at home in California recovering from gallbladder surgery. Seal tells the judge he doesn't want consular or Leonard wine glass to represent him. He wants Gary Gary asked Hoffman to postpone the trial for six weeks while he regained his health, but the judge refused. William consular gets up and tells judge Hoffman that to make an opening statement on Bobby seals behalf will compromise. His client's position that the trial. Can't go forward until he has the lawyer. He wants judge Hoffman replies. I don't ask you to compromise it, sir. But I will not permit. Him to address the jury with his very competent lawyer seated there if I were to make an opening statement, I would compromise his position that he has not his full council here. Mr Seal, you are not to make an opening statement. I saw order you. You are not permitted to in the circumstances of this case with that judge Hoffman asks the prosecution to call their first witness, Raymond Simon corporation counsel for Chicago in the city's top attorney takes the stand. He's up there because ABBIE Hoffman and Jerry Rubin approached him on August eighth. Nineteen sixty eight requesting permit for protesters to congregate in Lincoln park, the week of the democratic national convention Simon turn them down Rennie Davis and others from the national mobilization committee to end the war in Vietnam sued and Simon met with them. He says to try and find the solution. Prosecutor Thomas foreign address. Simon. What did Mr. Davis say? He said if the city doesn't give us the park, there will be tens of thousands of people without a place to stay, and they will go into the parks and the police will drive them out, and they will run through the streets of the city, and there will be disorder and conflict and problems and the police will fight back, and there will be tear gas and Mace and Billy clubs. Davis didn't get what he wanted his lawsuit against the city of Chicago was dismissed meaning that if he and his protesters wanted to demonstrate in Lincoln park, they'd have to do. So without a permit the world saw what happened next tear gas Mace and Billy clubs. This begs the question was Rennie. Davis clearly leader just being irresponsible when he decided to go ahead with the rally knowing what could happen or as the prosecution is clearly suggesting was violence the goal all along. September thirty day five tensions ratchet up notch prosecuting attorney Thomas foreign addresses the court. I was informed. Just about the time. We were to come to court by the FBI that they had been informed that one of the jurors had received a letter or her family had received a letter that certainly could be of threatening nature. It is dressed to the king family Eighty-one. South Carolina, crystal lake Illinois, six zero zero one four it is written in script. You are being watched the Black Panthers. Bobby Seale quaking with rage whispers to his co defendants. That's a forgery. We never signed anything the Black Panthers. It's always the Black Panther party. Or if we'll be informal. The Black Panther party for self defense. There are actually two letters both sent to Christie king. She's young and through. Her sister has a connection to the peace corps. The defense sees these two points as being in their favor. They could also explain why someone working against them would want to frighten king off the jury. Defense attorney consular like seal knows the letters are bogus and tells the judge so we are at the point your honor where the defendants has seriously made a statement that they believe that the two letters in question were sent in some way by some agent of the government in order to prejudice them further in this trial. That is their position. I think they have publicly stated it and that is the position which they take judge Hoffman scoffs, he sits elevated ten feet above the floor. Behind him hangs, several frame portrait's of the founding fathers Hoffman is certain those great men would be rolling in their graves if they could hear what was just said he squinched down at the defense table. I will let you try to prove that right now that is a very grave charge against an office of the government. Well, we obviously can't prove in your on that don't say it. This is the clients. -sition that is my statement to make a statement like that is irresponsible. It's clear Kristie king is already badly rattled now. She's under judge Hoffman's microscope. He says to the young woman have you seen either of these letters? No, you're on. Well, then you'd better just take this right now and read it Christie does as instructed now knowing how you and your family have been threatened. Do you believe you still be able to remain impartial in this case Kristie king's face Rennes? She looks quickly at Bobby Seale then away quietly. She replies. No miss. King. Your services are no longer required in this trial. You are dismissed. Kings replacement is a woman named cave Richards who just happens to be engaged to mayor Richard Daley's supervisor of personnel. Judge Hoffman does not see a conflict of interest. Over the next month. The prosecution calls witness after witness all of whom testify about their certainty that the defendants intended violence one is Robert Pearson. A police officer who went undercover in order to get dirt on behalf, man. He explains how for his assignment he altered his appearance to come across a little less cop like and more like a radical. I allowed my hair to grow long. I loud myself to go without a shave for proximity four to six weeks. I purchased the tire of motorcycle gang member, which is more of a cycle boots. A black T shirt black Li lies in a black leather vast in a motorcycle helmet Monday. August twenty six nineteen sixty eight. Did you have any occasion on that day to go to Lincoln park? Yes, sir. I did Jordan or -duced me to ABBIE Hoffman. He's at abbey. This is Bob. He will be one of your bodyguards. I said. Hoffman that last night's confrontation was a pretty good one and often said to me that last night they pushed us out of the park. But tonight, we're going to hold the park. He then said that we're going to any used a foul word f up the pigs and the convention. What was the word, please? Will you relate it? Fuck. As the first month wraps up a separate an ongoing issue reasserts itself since the opening statement debacle judge Hoffman and Bobby Seale have barely been able to exchange. Three civil words on Monday, October twenty seventh day thirty four of the trial the situation escalates seal again tells judge Hoffman that he wants his lawyer. What about my constitutional right to defend myself and have my lawyer, your constitutional rights. You are denying that you had been denying them. Every other word you say is denied denied denied denied. And you begin to only in the face of the masses of the people of this country. That is what you begin to represent the corrupt of this rotten government of four hundred years. Ladies and gentlemen, of the jury I regret that I will have to excuse, you hope you don't blame me for anything. And those false lion notes and lead is that was sent that said the Black Panther party threatened. The jury it's a lie. And you know, it's a lie and the government did it to taint the jury against me. Over the next couple days things between Bobby Seale and judge Hoffman. Get even more intense. I am warning you sir that the loss dead. A warning. Why don't you warm me? I've got a right to defend myself. I'm warning you that the court as the right to gag you. I don't wanna do that under the law. You may be gagged and chained to your chair gagged, I'm being railroaded. Alright a court has the right and court has no right whatsoever. The court has no right to stop me. From speaking out in my behalf of my constitutional rights. The court will be in recess until tomorrow morning at ten o'clock. Everyone will please rise not rising. I am not rising until he recognizes my constitutional rights, Mr. Marshall see that he rises Mr Seal and the other one to get all the defendants to rise Mr. Haden. Will you please Ryan's? Let the record show that none of the defendants has risen the court will be in recess. The following day October twenty ninth ABBIE Hoffman makes knobs avation. They're twenty five marshals in here. Now in the all got guns. It's clear that the marshalls are here in force and armed for one purpose to keep Bobby Seale and his supporters in the courtroom in check. It's a startling image in a trial already filled with them. And it's not going to be the craziest thing these people. See? You can't tackle every item on your list of resolutions. But there's one that's pretty easy ring in the new year with a new hair care routine. Madison Reed is hair color reinvented. Gorgeous salon-quality color delivered to your door for less than twenty five dollars. Remember, it's twenty nineteen. Now, you don't have to choose between outdated box color or the time and expensive salon crafted in Italy by master, cholera STS, Madison Reed is professional hair color. You can't easily do at home multi tonal ammonia free with ingredients. You can feel good about find your perfect shade today. Get an expert color consultation or take the color quiz and Madison dash Reebok com. As a listener of legal wars, you can get ten percent off plus free shipping on your first color kit with code legal wars, that's code legal wars for ten percent off plus free shipping on. On your first color kit. It's day. Thirty six of the trial and Bobby Seale judge Julius Hoffman are still arguing the jury is once again asked to leave the courtroom, Mr Seal, I've admonished you previously. I have a right to cross examine the witness. What might happen to you? If you keep on talking. We are going to recess now. Young men if you keep this look old man, if you keep denying me, my constitutional rights, you are being exposed to the public and the world that you do not care about people's constitutional rights to defend themselves. Judge Hoffman reiterates his threat from the previous day. I will tell you that what I indicated yesterday might happen to you happen to me what can happen to me more than what Benjamin Franklin and George Washington did the black people in slavery. What can happen to me more than that? Mr seal. Do you wanna stop or do you want me to direct the Marsh wants to argue the point we will take a recess take the defendant into the room there and deal with him as he? Should be dealt with. I still want to be represented. I want to represent myself the Marshall turns to the nearest defense attorney William consular. Will you instruct the defendants certain that it is the order of the court that they will rise upon the recess. If that is a direction of the court, I certainly will pass it on let the record show. None of the defendants have stood at this recess in response to the marshalls request that direction. He's all six marshals rushing. Bobby seeing the other seven jumped to their feet, and Dave the pacifist tries to get between seal in the marshes. He's thrown to the floor co founder Jerry ruin hills for all the here. They're kicking him in the ball. Marshall punches him in the face, Tom. Hayden. Shouts above the Malay on all he wants to be legally represented, not be a slave. The chaos of the Chicago streets is now in the court. Picks the marshalls drag Bobby into back Bobby seals ankles and risk for putting chains. Get off. The marshalls type thick white cloth around the back of his head and over his mouth. And then this is followed by perhaps the most shocking moment of all. He's brought back in and the judge and Marshall's attempt to resume the trial as if nothing happened Mr. foreign would you like to proceed this is a true turning point? William consular can't contain himself. I wanted to say the records should indicate that Mr Seal is seated on a metal chair each hand is handcuffed to the leg of the chair on both the right and left sides. So he cannot raise his hands. And they've gag is tightly pressed into his mouth and tied at the rear, and that when he attempts to speak, a muffled sound comes out as he has done several times since he has been bound and gagged. Bobby Seale has been muzzled but not silenced. Mr marshall. I don't think you've accomplished your purpose. Judge Hoffman orders yet another reset and the marshalls carry seal out once again still chained to his chair. When he's brought back in there's a plug like device in his mouth same story. The next day seal sits in the courtroom plugged and Enchaine's once again, he struggles against the marshalls and share is kicked. At this point pandemonium breaks out again, marshalls elbow in punch defendants spectators and journalists the court sketch artist gets it all William kuntsler has never witnessed anything like this. And it's making him more radical the second this is no longer afford or your honor. This is a medieval torture chamber. It is a disgrace. They are salting the other defendants also. Yet. Again, the whole world is watching and the viewers at home have seen hand-drawn images of the black man in chains on the front page of the morning papers. This is very bad publicity. Eventually seal is allowed to appear in court without the restraints the increasingly cranky judge peers down at the lead defense attorney Bill h Ray San Mateo county deputy sheriff is on the witness stand mister Kessler. Do you have any cross examination of this witness your honor since this witness only related facts relevant to Mr Seal who has as your honor knows discharged me. I have no questions. I think I have a right to cross examine Mr Seal. I asked you to sit down Bobby Seale is clearly not the kind of guy who sits down when he's told to sit down. He has some questions for the man testifying against him. Have you ever killed a Black Panther party member? Mr Seal, I will have to ask you to sit down. Please. Have you ever been on any rates in the Black Panther party's offices or Black Panther party members homes, Mr Seal, this is the third time? I'm asking you to. Sit down as courteously possible. Judge Hoffman has the jury leave the courtroom you are making it very difficult. For me, Mr Seal, you are making it very difficult for me judge Hoffman. Judge Hoffman seems to be building to something. Len Wein glass knows what's coming next. And isn't surprised when Hoffmann says I find the axe statements and conduct of the defendant, Bobby Seale constituted deliberate and willful attack upon the administration of Justice and attempt to sabotage the functioning of the federal judiciary system and misconduct of so brave character as to make Mirren position of a fine of futile gesture and wholly insignificant punishment judge Hoffman then sentences Bobby Seale to contempt citing some sixteen instances of penalty four years behind bars. But there's more there will be an order to clearing mistrial as to the defendant. Bobby G seal and not as to any other defendants the marshalls return this time to take Bobby Seale back to prison as he is dragged away and spectator, chef free, Bobby Seale. Make sure he's heard wait a minute. I got a right to catch on to pull. Now. I can't stay. I still want an immediate. You can't call it a mistrial. I'll put in jail for four years for nothing. The date is November fifth nineteen sixty nine the Chicago eight are now the Chicago Seven for body seal this part is over but for ABBIE Hoffman, Jerry Rubin. Tom hayden. Dave, Rennie Davis Lee, y and John phone lines. It's just the beginning. On the third and final episode of legal wars. Look at the trial of the Chicago Seven the defendant step up their blatant defined. So the court and call a who's who of legendary sixty celebrities. Philosophers and activists help them do. I hope you enjoyed this episode of legal wars. Subscribe now on apple podcasts. Stitch NPR Spotify wondering dot com or ever you. Listen to this show, you'll find a link on the episode notes, simply tap or swipe over the cover. He'll also see some offers from our sponsors. Please support our show by supporting them. If you like what you're hearing. We'd love you to give us a five star rating and tell your friends how to subscribe another way to support us as to answer a short survey at one hundred dot com slash survey. I'm your host hill. Harper are writers Hannibal D as our Lille consultants. Katie burger Kramer, and our researchers Caitlyn crime Casey minor edited this episode legal wars is produced by Stephanie jen's, George lavender sound designed by spoke media are executive producers are marshal Louis and Hernan Lopez for wondering.

Coming up next