Chicago Conspiracy Trial

Chicago Conspiracy Trial

by John Schultz
     
 

In September, 1969, as the U.S. commitment to the Vietnam War intensified, The Chicago Conspiracy Trial began. Eight men (including Tom Hayden, Bobby Seale, Dave Dellinger, Rennie Davis, Abbie Hoffman, John Froines, Lee Weiner, and Jerry Rubin) were charged with "conspiracy," and with individually crossing state lines and making speeches with intentSee more details below

Overview

In September, 1969, as the U.S. commitment to the Vietnam War intensified, The Chicago Conspiracy Trial began. Eight men (including Tom Hayden, Bobby Seale, Dave Dellinger, Rennie Davis, Abbie Hoffman, John Froines, Lee Weiner, and Jerry Rubin) were charged with "conspiracy," and with individually crossing state lines and making speeches with intent to "incite, organize, promote, and encourage" antiwar riots in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Pitted against them was Judge Julius Jennings Hoffman, an aged yet lively judge who used arbitrary methods to sway the jury to the side of the prosecution, aided by the full power of the U.S. Justice Department. Over the next five months the trial commanded the attention of a divided nation. Bobby Seale was held bound and gagged in the courtroom, and federal marshals fought with spectators and defendants. Finally, on February 18, 1970, the jury found five of the Chicago Seven (as they had been known since the judge severed Bobby Seale from the case) guilty. Campuses across the country burst into riots.

The Chicago Conspiracy Trial is a dramatic explication of that trial as well as the events surrounding it. The author, John Schultz, witnessed the trial, and was the only investigator to obtain the story of how Judge Hoffman successfully intimidated the jury. Schultz shows how the trial was a massive attempt to reshape the political turmoil of the time: the trial�s impact, measured in terms of fear and intimidation, can still be felt today. This vivid, engrossing drama will help ensure that the trial will neither be forgotten nor repeated.

The Chicago Conspiracy Trial is a revised and updated version of John Schultz�s original reportage and investigative work, Motion Will Be Denied. The story develops the trial strategies of prosecution and defense and what happened in the actual drama of the courtroom, with high conflict chapters devoted to Bobby Seale�s Sixth Amendment struggle that led to his severance from the case, the cross examination of "the clown prince of the left" Abbie Hoffman, the intimidation of the jurors, the contempt issues, and the protest that erupted in the courtroom with the jailing of defendant David Dellinger, among others.

John Schultz was present for the trial proceedings from beginning to end. There is an extensive Afterword by the author dealing with the appeals and the important legal, constitutional, and political aspects of this trial of the century. The investigative work includes startling interviews with jurors, FBI reports obtained through Freedom of Information requests, and interviews with defendants, Judge Hoffman�s law clerk, constitutional law professors Jon Waltz, Harry Kalven, and Arthur Kinoy (also head of the defense on appeal), and attorneys on both sides, including William Kunstier, Leonard Weinglass, Morton Stavis, Thomas Sullivan, and prosecutor on appeals Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Cole.

The publication of the jury story in Evergreen Review in 1970 caused an unprecedented hearing to be convened in which jurors and U.S. Marshals and other participants gave revealing testimony, the transcript of which was sent to the appeals judges, providing them the major breakthrough in one of the most spectacular political trials, of the century.

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Editorial Reviews

David Graber
...He puts words together with a clarity of sense and syntax that is almost physically engaging. Yet his brilliant account of the Chicago Conspiracy Trial is strikingly nonlinear... He has developed a dynamic explication of the trial.... He calls one chapter �The Struggle for the Laugh in the Courtroom�... If Schultz has offered us a drama that is a metaphor for this society itself, then his intensive concern with the jurors and their own special agony is its climax. -Los Angeles Times-Calendar
Harry Kalven, Jr.
The Schultz study is enormously relevant, covering as it does the jury performance under those strenuous conditions and testing realistically whether the jury today does perform the classic role (insulating the citizen from official oppression). It is therefore an important book for those who care about the jury system.... Mr. Schultz has written up his impressions with verve and perception. They cannot help but round out one�s view of this important and perplexing case. -Professor of Law, University of Chicago, author of The American Jury
Studs Terkel
John Schultz, more than any other observer, covered the Conspiracy Trial in all its bizarre aspects ... This work, aside from being a profound study of fear, is investigative journalism in its highest sense.
William Burroughs
A beautiful, compelling, tear-jerking, mind-boggling book.
Martin J. Sklar
As an historian, I am impressed with the depth with which John Schultz�s book elucidates the American historical experience through a focus on this one important present-day event.... This book is a work to which I can turn, and to which I can direct the attention of students, for deeper understanding of the present as history and history as a way of understanding ourselves in the present. -Professor of History, MacArthur Chair, Bucknell University

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780306805134
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
03/28/1993
Edition description:
1st Da Capo Press ed
Pages:
402
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 8.02(h) x 1.00(d)

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