In 1968, anti-war and anti-establishment groups converged in the City of Chicago to protest U.S. participation in the Vietnam War at the Democratic National Convention. The protests eventually turned violent as Chicago police clashed with protestors in the streets, creating some of the most indelible images of the era. The political activists, who infamously became known as “The Chicago 7,” were arrested and later tried in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on charges of criminal conspiracy and incitement to riot. In this 3-part series, CBA’s @theBar shares insights into The Trial of the Chicago 7 through rare interviews with the Assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecuted the case and the last living member of The Chicago 7.
Part 2 of @theBar’s three-part series on The Trial of the Chicago 7. In this episode, host Jonathan Amarilio continues his conversation about the landmark trial with Dick Schultz who represented the United States Government in the prosecution of the Chicago 7.
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The Trial of the Chicago 7 Edition: Part 2 – Prosecutor Dick Schultz (Cont.)
Intro: Hello everyone and welcome to @theBar. A podcast where we have unscripted conversations with our guests about legal news, topics, stories and whatever else strikes our fancy. I’m your host Jonathan Amarilio of Taft Law and this is Part 2 of our three-part series on the trial of the Chicago 7.
Jonathan Amarilio: In this episode, we continue our conversation with Dick Schultz, who represented the United States Government in the prosecution of the Chicago 7. We recommend that you listen to the first part of the conversation before this part, but it’s a free country and you can choose your own adventure. One additional note before we rejoin Dick, we realized that even 50 years later, this topic touches on deep-seated memories and emotions for those who supported, and those who opposed the Chicago 1968 protests, the Vietnam War and the prosecution of the Chicago 7. We don’t take sides in that debate. We don’t interrogate Dick or John. Our role in this interview series is to let both men explain to us and to you their recollections and views of the events those many years ago. And with that, let’s pick up where we left off with Dick.
So, Dick let’s move the conversation on to the trial itself. It’s my understanding that before the trial even began, one or more of the defendants were encouraging more violence at the trial, is that correct?
Dick Schultz: Yes, it is. It is.
Jonathan Amarilio: What were they saying?
Dick Schultz: Let me just — before I tell you that, let me just give you an overview of the trial. The attorneys were John Froines, the United States attorney and myself.
Jonathan Amarilio: Right.
Dick Schultz: The way we tried the case was, we alternated witnesses. There were about 190 witnesses at the trial. I cross examined and/or direct examined approximately 90 of those witnesses. Tom did the other 90, approximately 90. I gave the opening statement in the closing argument; Tom gave the rebuttal. And the defense attorneys were William Kunstler and Leonard Weinglass. So, those are the four attorneys.
Prior to the trial starting, to answer directly to your question. A week before the trial began, one of the defendants announced at a rally the following: “This is a rally. People should come to this trial and fight the pigs in Chicago just as they did a year ago.” He also instructed the audience how to make a Molotov cocktail and told them to throw it into a pig’s cut.” I haven’t even started yet. By the way that is evidence that we presented to the jury at the trial. You mentioned a Black Panther letter.
Jonathan Amarilio: Well, you know that’s one of the more famous episodes of the trial. This was a note that was supposedly sent by the Black Panthers to one or more of the jurors, right?
Dick Schultz: That’s correct.
Jonathan Amarilio: Can you describe that?
Dick Schultz: The first witness that we had on the stand, who was an FBI agent, while he was testifying, we were all informed that a juror had received a letter from the Black Panthers threatening jurors’ life. As soon as we learned that, Counselor Weinglass, Tom and I went into chambers with the judge. I think that was the only time we were in chambers with him. And we told the judge about it, and it was decided that the judge was going to interview the jurors to find out whether any of them could still remain as jurors, but lunchtime was coming. Before we broke up, counselor said, “We have to keep this quiet. We can’t let the jurors know about this,” we of course agreed and understood.
During the lunch hour, Counselor Weinglass and all of the defendants — except for Seale who was in jail, so he had to go back to jail on another case that was I think in Connecticut. He wasn’t in jail because of us — held a press conference on camera in the federal courthouse. What he said was the jurors — he said, “jurors”, plural, and just surprised us had received letters from the Black Panthers, threatening their lives and that he believed the letters were sent, not by the Black Panthers but by the United States Government. So, now after that, now we are in court out of the presence of the jurors, and he says the same thing to the judge. The judge now knowing that these letters are known to the world, and possibly through the media if the jurors are exposed to the media, so the jurors would never even receive the letters immediately sequestered the jurors. The jurors were sequestered at a downtown hotel for four-and-a-half months on account of this, four-and-a-half months. Meaning, they only could see their families on the weekends, and that was in the presence of US marshals. It was just awful for them.
Jonathan Amarilio: Right.
Dick Schultz: So, he orders the sequestration, and the next morning — and later that afternoon, the jurors were interviewed and one juror was removed.
Jonathan Amarilio: Yeah.
Dick Schultz: The following morning, counselor made a motion out of the presence of the jury for a hearing to determine the Government’s role in sending these letters. He requested the judge, ordered a number of witnesses to testify at this hearing including J. Edgar Hoover and the attorney, John Mitchell. The judge denied the motion, but then that evening, he was on television again, because they had two press conferences a day, every day for the length. Repeatedly, during the trial after this occurred in the presence of the jury, counselor would make a motion in the
presence of the jury, make a motion to have the sequestration canceled saying, “He never wanted it, those terrible —
Jonathan Amarilio: Right, he provokes this scenario and then he plays the white knight in front of the jury, trying to get them out of it, right? And this is just from the first witness at the trial, and you all know this drama already.
Dick Schultz: This is the first witness. Before the trial started, I asked the judge to order the defendants, to comply with rule that says, that the attorneys cannot make public statements about the case.
Jonathan Amarilio: There’s a local court rule that said, “Attorneys can’t comment on cases while they’re pending,” right?
Dick Schultz: Precisely. Nothing to that, there’s a rule and he expects them to comply with it. Every day after that, during the trial, two press conferences will be held by them, all of them on television, except for Seale he wasn’t there. It will be at analyzing what happened that morning with that afternoon depending on when the press conference occurred. At the end of the day, Tom and I watched the evening program, we wouldn’t even know we’re at the same Trial. It was so absurd, went even close.
Jonathan Amarilio: Dick, this is something I really wanted to ask you about, because those press conferences allowed the defendants to control the public narrative, the perception of how the trial was going to paint you and Tom and the government as the bad guys, and them as the oppressed good guys who were just standing up for their constitutional rights, et cetera. What if anything did you or the judge do to stop them to get them to comply with the local rule?
Dick Schultz: I had made my motion, the judge had denied it. I was done. There’s nothing more I could do.
Jonathan Amarilio: Couldn’t you move for sanctions, something, you know to hold them in contempt? I know they had a 100 or so contempt rulings against them over the course of the trial.
Dick Schultz: There were many other contempts. No, we did not. The judge had made his decision. Tom and I never spoke one word publicly until after the verdict was issued. We came back into court and asked him, we now speak about it, and the judge authorized it. So, you’re right, absolutely right. It was the defendants and their lawyers controlled the media. It was awful. And moreover, the press wasn’t — just swallowed it all, whatever they said.
Jonathan Amarilio: I mean in fairness it was the only thing they were hearing, right?
Dick Schultz: They saw the trial. They knew that this didn’t mimic the trial, but they didn’t do anything, except for one guy, Bill Kurtis. Bill Kurtis was a press man, he had just passed the Bar, I understand. He was at the trial and he was the only one, only one who did it fairly.
Jonathan Amarilio: He’s the legendary Chicago newsman.
Dick Schultz: Russians had a reporter there. This was all going into Russia for Christ sake.
Jonathan Amarilio: Well, I mean it’s great propaganda for them, right? The US Government is oppressing its own people, that kind of thing. Well, Dick why didn’t — I know it’s super easy for me to armchair, quarterback this 52 years later, but did you consider using like proxies to speak to the press? I know you couldn’t speak to the press because of the local rule, but sending someone out there to give your version of the events of the day to try to counter the narrative that the defendants were putting out there.
Dick Schultz: It’d be a violation of the rule. Having someone else do it for me, not a chance, not a chance, not a chance. No, no, we just took it out of the chin and get destroyed publicly, we knew it. We had one audience that we cared about, the jury, that was it.
Jonathan Amarilio: Do we know to this day for sure who sent that note to the jurors?
Dick Schultz: No, I don’t.
Jonathan Amarilio: Do you have your suspicions?
Dick Schultz: I have no suspicions. I have no idea. I have no idea.
Jonathan Amarilio: Okay. So, it was completely improper but probably effective counselors maneuver there. That wasn’t the only time that he told the jury that they were in danger during their trial, right?
Dick Schultz: That’s right. Shortly after that, it was like being on another planet, maybe in another universe. The jury was threatened again, not long after that. After the jury was seated, before the witness took the stand, counselor stood up and said to the judge, the jury right next to him, and I’m quoting. He said, “The government is planning to launch an attack on the jury.” That’s what he said, but the judge hears this and he immediately orders the jury out of the courtroom. They all stood up, and before they could even take a step, counselor said it again, “Judge the government is planning to launch an attack on the jury,” and the juries are all looking at him, looking at us, stumbling out of the courtroom. They couldn’t believe it. They couldn’t believe it.
Jonathan Amarilio: Do you think they believe him?
Dick Schultz: We never responded to it ever. What are we going to do? Stand up and say, “No, judge that’s not true”?
Jonathan Amarilio: No, no, no, but just you were there, you saw their faces, were they rolling their eyes or did they look scared?
Dick Schultz: They were in shock.
Jonathan Amarilio: Yeah.
Dick Schultz: They were stoic. Later in the trial, the counselor embellished on this. He informed the jury that Tom, Froines and I were violent. Here’s what happened. Again just before the witness takes the stand, this was in the afternoon on one of these days, right after lunch before the witness got up to get on stand, the juries and paneled, the judge is sitting there. He stands up, and here’s what he said, and I’m quoting, “There was a fist fight apparently both in an elevator and the lunchroom,” there’s a lunchroom in federal building, “Between a federal marshal and a US attorney. The government sometimes settles its problems with violence, as happened in the courthouse today.” Well, that’s the quote. This was false. He just made it up. There was no fist fight, but the jurors, the only marshal and US attorneys they know are sitting right there in the courtroom.
Jonathan Amarilio: Right.
Dick Schultz: They’re being told that Tom and I are violent and dangerous, just all made up.
Jonathan Amarilio: Okay, so there was violence in the courtroom though it just wasn’t coming from you guys, right? There was a very rowdy crowd in the gallery.
Dick Schultz: Abbie is understatement.
Jonathan Amarilio: Yeah, I’m saying that with a touch of irony. So, it’s my understanding that these disruptions from the gallery, from the spectators followed a certain pattern, right?
Dick Schultz: Yes. That’s correct.
Jonathan Amarilio: What was that?
Dick Schultz: Well, first the spectators would line up outside the federal building every night. They were a lot. They’d sleep in the street. We tried the case from September to February. It was cold.
Jonathan Amarilio: Yeah.
Dick Schultz: When they got into the courtroom, they would yell, scream, clap, laughs, swear, cheer, groan, grunted in the courtroom during the trial. One woman kept on yelling, “You little, you little prick.” I never knew whom she was addressing. It was incredible. It was like being in a football game to hear these screaming and yelling.
Jonathan Amarilio: Dick, was it constant or would it come at certain times in the trial?
Dick Schultz: It wasn’t constant, but it occurred over and over on a regular basis, and yes there were times when we could predict when it would occur, and I’ll tell you about that in a moment. But what they would do is exactly what they did during the convention. They would start fighting in self-defense. Here’s how it would work and it happened over and over again, I’m talking about the spectators. A woman usually who was near the back of the rose and not close to the aisle, so it would be hard to get to her, would start screaming and yelling without stop. The marshal would tell her, he’d be standing in the aisle to stop it and she wouldn’t. So, he’d start moving in to take her out of the spectators’ section. And of course, he had to get by everybody who wouldn’t allow it, trying to get to her and he would touch her shoulder, or her arm, or elbow whatever it is, and she would immediately fight, pushing him back, “How dare you touch me?” in self-defense, she’s defending herself.
And then the people in the area, the spectators around her would come to her aid and push the marshal and start fighting with him. Other marshals would come in and join, and it would explode into a fight in the spectator section, which on many occasions would morph into the well of the courtroom. And we in the middle of the courtroom would have people punching, and kicking, and fighting, and screaming. As soon as that started, the judge would order a jury to leave.
Jonathan Amarilio: Yeah.
Dick Schultz: They would all stand up and start gradually moving out looking over their shoulder.
Jonathan Amarilio: Yeah, they want to watch. It’s a show.
Dick Schultz: They would leave very slowly. The fighting was incredible. It was wrestling. It was kicking, it was biting and it just wild.
Jonathan Amarilio: Wouldn’t the defendants get in on the fighting at some points?
Dick Schultz: Oh, yes. Oh, in the courtroom? Oh, yes. On one occasion, I remember so vividly, it happened while I was at the podium. So, I put my elbow on the podium and I looked over my shoulder and I was watching. Rennie Davis, one of the defendants came up to me and stuck his face, right in my face. So, behind him as all this battling, and he’s got his nose in my nose, he had bad breath by the way, he said, “Come on,” he holds his jaw, “Hit me, hit me, hit me,” I didn’t.
Jonathan Amarilio: Were you tempted? You were tempted, admit it.
Dick Schultz: Of course. Of course. You know, we all grew up on our own ways, of course. He knew that, of course, I didn’t do anything.
Jonathan Amarilio: Right.
Dick Schultz: On one occasion, what would? I mean, as soon as the jury got out, it took him a while every time, the judge would promptly run out, and you could see he’s a little guy, just see his head running out. The court reporter would run out, and there would be nothing in the transcript. Sometimes, she would say disruption but generally there’s nothing in the transcript. On one occasion, I remember this is vividly as it could be, while they were all fighting, Abbie Hoffman climbed up on the back of the front row visitors’ bench, and he balanced himself on top of the bench, so that his feet were on it and his hands were on either side, and he was squatting there facing the fighting in the well of the courtroom. And in front of him was a marshal with his back to — a big marshal with his back to, Abbie Hoffman fighting with someone facing the marshal. Abbie Hoffman leaped off the top of that bench, sprung off, came down with a rabbit punch on the back of the Marshal’s neck, and the marshal went down, out cold. It was like a barroom brawl in a Western movie.
Jonathan Amarilio: How many times did this happen, Dick over the course of the four-and-a-half-month trial?
Dick Schultz: At least 15 to 20 times.
Jonathan Amarilio: Okay. So, yeah pretty regularly. You said earlier that you could predict when these things, these disruptions, these barroom brawls would happen, how so? What do you mean by that?
Dick Schultz: Tom and I were looking at each other, we knew what was going to happen. I’ll give you one illustration. This was a coordination between the spectators and the defendants. On the witness stand on this occasion, the defendants who insisted that they never told the city officials that they wanted to have sex in the park. They said that was all a lie, all the testimony, that’s what they said, testimony from the city officials who already (00:18:55). That’s what happened, the defendants opposed it, they said, “That never happened.” They put on the witness stand, the man who did the negotiations for their permits. They’re not putting their case on. And on direct examination, he produced a single piece of papers, just one little piece of paper with 10 paragraphs on numbered 1 through 10, and they offered it in the evidence. That went into evidence and he’s using it for his testimony, because he wrote these notes during his negotiations with the city.
Jonathan Amarilio: Right.
Dick Schultz: So, he read the first five paragraphs on direct examination. Now, it’s our turn on cross-examination. So, I asked him about paragraph 9. They hadn’t read paragraph 9, they asked what about 1 through 5. They objected that it was irrelevant a document that’s in evidence.
Jonathan Amarilio: This is a rule of completeness problem there.
Dick Schultz: It in evidence.
Jonathan Amarilio: Right, the whole thing, you can’t pick and choose.
Dick Schultz: So, the motion is denied, so he’s reading aloud, and I’m going to quote it, paragraph 9. It states, “This is what he wrote while he’s negotiating. There will be public fornication whenever and wherever there is an aroused appendage and a willing aperture.” That’s what he wrote while he was negotiating with his permits to sleep in the park. As soon as he’s starting to read this, a visitor, a spectator starts screaming and yelling and disrupting. Counselor jumps out of his seat. The counselor didn’t even put this witness on direct examination, screaming, “What are they doing to this spectator?” and the whole courtroom went up. Finally, it settles down, the spectator is taken out, maybe five minutes have passed, and I realized that probably the jury never even heard this witness.
Jonathan Amarilio: Right.
Dick Schultz: Or if they did, they don’t remember it. I mean it’s a wild scene, so I asked him to read paragraph 9 again, which he did. And as he was reading it, counselor — again, he didn’t even present this witness, Weinglass did, said this that I’m using, “That dirty old man’s tactic,” whatever that meant. This is one instance where there was coordination.
Jonathan Amarilio: Yeah. So, they were using it — if I’m hearing you correctly, Dick, they were — the defense was using these disruptions, timing these disruptions to interfere with moments where you were making a good point, is that fair?
Dick Schultz: Sure. Often, they would just start screaming and yelling when a good point was made, “liar,” that kind of thing but yes that’s what they would do. And the defendants themselves were always screaming and yelling. Here are some of the things that they were saying to the judge, just a few of them.
Jonathan Amarilio: Sure.
Dick Schultz: As Hoffman, the equal Adolf Hitler today. You’re the laughing stock of the world, Julius Hoffman. You are a disgrace to the Jews. You would have served Hitler better. Every kid in the world hates you. This court is bullshit. Factious. You’re a Nazi tyrant. You know you cannot win this fucking case. They’re screaming this out to the judge during the trial. “You’re a disgrace. You’re a rat liar. You’re a factious pig liar. You’re an obscene hypocrite. You’re a liar. You stink.” The courtroom is a neon oven of — you’re a racist.”
Jonathan Amarilio: Yeah.
Dick Schultz: Every day, every day, this is just smattering, yelling and screaming. Defense table, these are defendants doing this.
Jonathan Amarilio: Slight lack of decorum there.
Dick Schultz: But then the question is, what did the defendants’ lawyers do to put them in check? Well, the judge would ask the lawyers to control their clients, and I’ll give you one example, just one. The judge asked Weinglass to tell Rubin to be quiet. And here’s what Weinglass’ statement was, “I am an officer of this court. I am not a US marshal.” That was his answer. He did nothing. They obviously encouraged it.
Jonathan Amarilio: And that’s probably a good place for us to take a break. We’ll be right back.
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Jonathan Amarilio: And we’re back. Dick, a lot of those attacks were launched at the Judge, Julius Hoffman. Let’s go there. He’s portrayed in the movie and is often remembered, I think in part because of the later Appellate Court opinion from the 7th Circuit as really being part of the problem with the trial and ultimately his rulings provided some grounds for the defendant’s convictions ultimately to be overturned.
Let’s not go there yet but let me just ask you how do you remember the judge handling himself and conducting the trial and his responses to the defendant’s behavior. What do you think of the way he conducted the trial?
Dick Schultz: He did his best. He did his best to keep order in the courtroom and to
Prevent the disruptions and he failed. I don’t know any judge who would not fail. Now he made some mistakes and he was criticized during the trial for it. For example, he had a friend whose name was Feinglass and at the beginning he was always referring to Weinglass as Mr. Feinglass. He referred to defendant Weiner as Weiner and he got confused with Dellinger’s name he called him Delinger he called Deliner. He made a
Mistake. He was careful. He was assaulted verbally every day viciously and just sat there and sat there and he was maligned every single day. I felt sorry for him. He had no method of stopping it. There’s nothing he could do maybe another judge would find a way of laughing these things off or whatever. Judge Hoffman didn’t laugh him off. He just took it.
Jonathan Amarilio: Well his conduct, Dick brings us to — I think one of the most difficult and indelible images of the trial that has a lot of resonance today and that’s the binding and the gagging of Bobby Seale who’s the only black defendant. So let’s get into that a little bit. It’s generally understood that Seale was bound and gagged because he was trying to represent himself at the trial when he said he did not have an attorney. Is that accurate? Did he have a lawyer at the trial?
Dick Schultz: The answer is yes he did and you said let’s get into it a little bit. No, I want to get into it carefully. It has never ever been analyzed by any judge or any lawyer, never.
Jonathan Amarilio: Let’s do it now.
Dick Schultz: And I’m going to do it. It’s going to sound maybe a little heavy but it’s very really very simple. The first thing everyone recalls is the binding and gagging and how terrible it was. It was accomplished by Kunstler’s repeated lies to judge and refusal to comply with the judge’s order and I’m going to tell you how it happened. It all started at the beginning with two lawyers licensed in California file appearances for Bobby Seale. One was Charles Garry and the other was Michael Tigar. They were general appearances. Garry later sought a continuance of the trial which was set for September 24th because he was having a surgery. His motion was denied, the trial was going to go ahead so he was out. Kunstler had filed appearances at the arraignment in April for a number of the defendants. I had the case from the very beginning. On the morning of September 24th, the first day of the trial in the presence of all eight defendants including Seale, defendant’s local council named Birnbaum informed Judge Hoffman that Kunstler had filed an appearance that morning for Seale and here’s what he said Kunstler will be Seale’s “trial counsel throughout the whole
trial,” that’s what he said. Then Kunstler on that morning who was standing at the podium said he had been who had been representing other defendants said that prior to appearing in court that morning on the 24th of September he filed his appearance on behalf of Seale along with his rule 30 affidavit which he moved to appear prohibition(ph).
Jonathan Amarilio: And just to pause you for one quick moment, Dick for audience
Those who are not lawyers so what that means is that Kunstler filed an appearance on Seale’s behalf and when he did so he swore under oath that he was Seale’s lawyer, correct?
Dick Schultz: “Retain” by Seale. That’s what it said, that’s what it says. So the judge hears this and at that morning the judge sua sponte meaning on his own
motion granted Kunstler leave to file his appearance for Seale nunc pro tunc meaning he’s back dating Kunstler. The judge then asked Kunstler and Weinglass who represents what — Kunstler said this. “Weinglass will be represented by four of the defendants and I will be representing four of the defendants.”
Jonathan Amarilio: It didn’t identify them by name but when you layer it with the affidavit and the appearance, it’s clear that Kunstler was representing Seale, right?
Dick Schultz: We have the appearance.
Jonathan Amarilio: And Seale was there in the courtroom when he said this, correct? So if he disagreed he presumably could have objected?
Dick Schultz: Man that’s correct, he’s sitting right there.
Jonathan Amarilio: Okay, so that changed at some point?
Dick Schultz: A few weeks into the trial Weinglass finishes his cross-examination
government witness. Upon completing that examination Weinglass said to the judge Seale should conduct the cross-examination of the witness on his behalf because he is not represented by Kunstler. Kunstler is just sitting here saying nothing.
Jonathan Amarilio: First you’ve heard of it?
Dick Schultz: Right. Seale, so the judge says that Kunstler has filed an appearance on behalf of Seale and Kunstler said and I’m quoting “with statements as to the limits of my appearance” and Judge Hoffman says “there’s no such thing as limits.” By the way Kunstler never told us what those limits were.
Jonathan Amarilio: Yeah and they weren’t in the appearance themselves just to be clear and complete. He didn’t write anything in the appearance saying purportedly limiting his representation at all?
Dick Schultz: No. So the only known statement that we had was local council saying
that Kunstler is going to represent Seale throughout the whole trial even if Kunstler had made statements, verbal statements or even written statements modifying his appearance.
Jonathan Amarilio: There was no procedure for that at that time?
Dick Schultz: Once you file an appearance, the only way you can limit or eliminate it is with a ruling of court and of course he had no rule. Ten days later after this incident the issue came up again Kunstler then Seale said I don’t have a lawyer
and now Kunstler gave a different reason. He told the judge that he had “fully and legally withdrawn” his appearance. No longer said limiting statements now he’s fully
Jonathan Amarilio: But you can’t, again just for our audience, Dick. He can’t withdraw his appearance without leave or permission of the court to do
So and that’s almost never granted by courts unless there’s a substitute counsel who’s coming in for that lawyer, right?
Dick Schultz: Yeah that’s one of the principal reasons. The following day after he made this statement that he had fully and legally withdrawn. The following day he made a motion to withdraw his appearance, a formal motion. This is 4 and 1/ weeks into the trial 16 witnesses have testified and he now moves to withdraw his appearance. There was a lengthy hearing on that motion, Tom Foran argued it against Kunstler. The judge denied the motion. Several days later when the issue came up again Seale says I don’t have a lawyer. Kunstler stood up and said I’ve withdrawn my appearance. He just had his motion to withdraw denied. I’ve withdrawn my appearance as though there never had been a ruling by the court that he couldn’t. It’s just nuts.
Jonathan Amarilio: So he’s essentially not recognizing the authority of the court. It’s basically what it boils down to.
Dick Schultz: And he’s lying to the court saying that he had withdrawn saying that he made statements. So now if everything is getting ratcheted up. He was demanding that he can represent himself. Here are some of the things he said to the judge. I’m quoting. “Look old man if you keep on denying me my constitutional rights, you are being exposed to the public and the world as a racist, fascist and bigot.” The courtroom became utter chaos. We couldn’t even proceed with the trial. Spectators and defendants were energized by the turmoil. There was yelling, swearing, it was unbelievable. Now I have to take you back before the trial. ix weeks before our trial started, that is in August of 1969 before the trial started. The Seventh Circuit which is the circuit that Judge Hoffman is in and we’re in made a ruling in what’s called
Illinois versus Allen. In that case Allen was a defendant in a proceeding and he was disrupting the trial badly they couldn’t proceed. The court ordered him out of the courtroom, removed from the courtroom and he claimed Allen did his Sixth Amendment right was violated. The Seventh Circuit six weeks before our trial began ruled that a disruptive defendant cannot be removed from the courtroom. He has to be bound and gagged.
That’s what it ruled. Tom and I were aware of the case and we saw it coming weeks before when Kunstler first claimed that his appearance had been withdrawn. They were building a case under Allen.
Jonathan Amarilio: So with the Seventh Circuit as I understand it said — like you said this is the month before trial started and they said that the proper remedy when you have a disruptive defendant who’s not allowing the trial to proceed is to “have restrained the defendant by whatever means necessary even if those means included his being shackled and gagged.” Now that was later overturned by the U.S Supreme
Court the following year which disagreed with that conclusion but when you went to trial that was the law in the courtroom that you were in.
Dick Schultz: While our case was on trial that case was argued before the United States Supreme Court and I’m told I wasn’t there that most of the argument concerned our case what was going on in Chicago at that time. In march of 1970, the supreme Court reversed the Seventh Circuit. He said it was not a violation of the Sixth Amendment right of the defendant to remove him from the courtroom but he could be removed and that was corrupt.
Jonathan Amarilio: Right they said the judge actually has discretion to either remove him to cite him for contempt or to bind and gag him and that he didn’t have to bind and gag him which when you were at trial was the law of the Seventh Circuit.
Dick Schultz: The only way we could have proceeded with the trial was to bind
and gag him because we couldn’t remove them from the court. I say we the judge couldn’t remove. So the charade that Kunstler and Seale executed was they saw a ruling and the only way to get the ruling to apply was for Kunstler to unilaterally withdraw his appearance, blame it on the judge that not letting him do it and letting Seale disrupt the courtroom and be bound and gagged so that the whole world would see this black man in a federal court sitting in a chair with a gag on bound and gagged
and that’s exactly what happened and it happened through the repeated lies and deceit and refusal to comply with the judge’s orders all by Kunstler.
Jonathan Amarilio: Dick let’s — yeah go ahead
Dick Schultz: There’s one thing so they perpetrated John a fraud on the court and Seale submitted to the sham. He submitted to it. He let it happen to him and they did it to reveal to the world that an American federal court is morally depraved and racist.
They did it by manipulation, lies, and cheating and no one has ever called him out on it. No one has ever analyzed how this came about and I’ve told you how it came about.
Jonathan Amarilio: Okay, I know there’s going to be disagreement on that point whether this was part of a trap by the defense.
Dick Schultz: What else could it be?
Jonathan Amarilio: I’m not taking sides. I just I know I’ve heard both of them. I’m trying to be neutral in this.
Dick Schultz: No one has ever analyzed that. No, no, it’s not something where there’s another side to it. These are the facts that occurred. No one has ever addressed them. They said a district court that the awful Judge Hoffman has done this, they never have seen how it developed.
Jonathan Amarilio: Okay so let’s take that as true then Dick.
Dick Schultz: Off the top think well maybe there’s another side to it. What is the other side? No one has ever said because there isn’t. All you have to do is look at the transcript.
Jonathan Amarilio: All right, well but if we take that as true and agree with
you on that. Here’s my question, Dick.
Dick Schultz: I did not make up the quotes.
Jonathan Amarilio: I am not accusing you of making up anything.
Dick Schultz: No, I’m saying it’s true.
Jonathan Amarilio: Okay but taking that taking that as true, Dick. Here’s my question. It still seems to me that Bobby Seale was treated differently than the other
Defendants who as you’ve laid out you know very articulately before were incredibly disruptive throughout the trial including getting in fist fights with martials. I mean the question’s pretty simple. Why wasn’t Abbie Hoffman bound and gagged when he jumped on the back of a martial and started punching him? Why wasn’t this Seventh Circuit rule being equally applied to all of the defendants?
Dick Schultz: Because all of the defendants didn’t do what Seale did. Yes, the defendants did disrupt in fact Dellinger had his bond taken away and he spent the last part of the trial in jail in jail. The other defendants were interrupting the trial but they
weren’t stopping the trial. Bobby Seale stopped our trial. We could not proceed.
Jonathan Amarilio: Why? Why was this different than the other ones?
Dick Schultz: He stood before the jury. He stood before the jury after they finally the binding and gagging was removed and he representing himself. Here’s what he said to a witness, a police officer who on direct examination never even talked about Black Panthers, didn’t even know who they were probably. He screams, Seale does in his
cross-examination. Have you ever killed a Black Panther Party member? Have you ever been on any raids in the Black Panther offices? He was just screaming and yelling and tearing at the — we couldn’t proceed with the trial.
Jonathan Amarilio: But Dick how’s that different than what the other defendants were doing when they were calling Judge Hoffman a Nazi and a fascist and they’re
screaming and disrupting too? I guess I’m struggling with finding what the difference is between their behavior?
Dick Schultz: Well the difference is really very clear. They would scream out, there would be a disruption maybe last time it was a fist fight it might last for 15-20 minutes but normally it lasted only a very short time and then we proceeded with the trial. Seale was standing up and screaming all the time. We couldn’t put witnesses on, we couldn’t get any evidence in.
Jonathan Amarilio: So the difference is he wouldn’t stop screaming at any point
is that what you’re saying?
Dick Schultz: He couldn’t stop screaming. My First Amendment rights are being violated in this fascist court and he charged me on one occasion. He screamed at me and charged across the courtroom screaming at me. Fortunately for one of us, a martial stepped in between us. We couldn’t proceed. The trial stopped that was the difference. There was no discrimination.
Jonathan Amarilio: Okay. He was mistrialed out after that right?
Dick Schultz: Yup.
Jonathan Amarilio: So that that’s how we that’s how we get the moniker of the Chicago Seven and not the Chicago Eight, right?
Dick Schultz: Right. He’s mistried. Now I don’t know, two months later whenever it was. Well before he’s mistried, we had presented evidence about what he had done. He had two speeches. We had a tape of the first speech which was not a
complete tape and it was a messed up tape. That’s a speech that he made at Tuesday
night in Lincoln Park after being introduced by Rubin to 2000. He spoke to 2000 demonstrators. Our recording was not good and then he had another speech in
Grant Park the next day. Now we presented that evidence. Seale was now mistried. Now they bring Seale back to testify. They bring him back to testify and he
takes the stand and he testifies to his speech in Lincoln Park, the first speech. The one that Rubin introduced him to and he produces a complete recording. They had a complete recording of a speech and a transcript of his speech so now I had the complete story. I didn’t have it before.
Jonathan Amarilio: Yeah, they’re handing you your evidence.
Dick Schultz: So now on cross-examination, here’s what he tells us. He told the crowd running around in large groups with rocks and bottles won’t accomplish anything against the pigs. Get a 357 magnum pistol, a 45 pistol and an m1 rifle. Go in small groups of four and five and use revolutionary tactics. These groups will disassemble those pigs who occupy our community like foreign troops. If a pig treats you unjustly
bring out your pieces and start barbecuing some pork. They put him on a stand to
say all this and cross-examination of course. In the second rally on cross-examination, I asked Seale whether the following occurred. Here’s the question and here’s what happened. Question, did you state while pointing at a policeman, he’s out in in grant park on Wednesday and Wednesday before the march to the amphitheater was supposed to go ahead. Did you state while pointing at a policeman standing nearby
“if the pigs get in the way of our march” meaning the march to the amphitheater then tangled with the blue helmeted motherfuckers and kill them and send them to a morgue slab. They brought them back, incredible. He refused to answer the question in the presence of the jury, took the Fifth Amendment.
Jonathan Amarilio: It certainly undermines their position that they’re meant to be peaceful. So Dick, you’re talking about a pretty memorable witness there. One of the things this trial is famous for is having a lot of memorable witnesses including you know the all the celebrities of the counter culture movement.
You had Norman Mailer, Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, Judy Collins, Phil Ochs, Jesse Jackson. Who stands out for you? Fifty-two years later looking back on it, who’s
most memorable for you?
Dick Schultz: Well one of them Phil Ochs. I had to keep my family unknown to the defendants. My 10-year-old daughter happened to be there when Phil Ochs testified. He got up on the stand with his guitar. Kunstler asked him to sing a song that he had sung during the convention. I stood up and said that I objected to him singing in the
courtroom and my daughter screams out “oh, daddy let him sing.”
Jonathan Amarilio: A very human moment.
Dick Schultz: That was Gilmsan(ph) who became a prosecuting attorney. Abbie Hoffman was probably the guy I would call the best one. Abbie took the stand when the defendants put him on. He had blown kisses for the jury in the first day of the trial. On direct examination, the first question was what occurred in your life
from 1938 to 1960? He answered nothing. He was a showman, a comedian. On direct examination, he was endearing. He said how much he enjoyed the music. He came to peacefully demonstrate. It never crossed his mind that there’d be violence. He was a lover not a fighter. He was so ingratiated, he was so good, he was so good.
Jonathan Amarilio: Didn’t he challenge Mayor Daley to a fight in the middle of the courtroom?
Dick Schultz: Yeah he did out of the presence of the jury and Daley lifted his dukes.
Jonathan Amarilio: Put his dukes up, yeah.
Dick Schultz: He was funny. And then everything changed on his cross-examination. He couldn’t explain how he planned peaceful demonstrations when prior to the convention he wrote there’d be 6,000 arrests 2,000 to 3,000 beatings and 20 to
30 people came. He couldn’t. What happened on cross-examination is that he had never in his life had to answer a question. Never. He can always duck dodge but here I would ask him a question and he would deflect. I would very politely ask the answer be stricken. It would be and I’d ask it again and then again and again and again until he had to answer the questions and he couldn’t and he became sullen, reticent, subdued, angry. He was completely different than on his direct examination. This happened over and over again. I just keep on asking him and he would just collapse. It finally became so bad they had to hospitalize him. We had to take a recess. I can’t remember how many days because he said he was ill and he went to the hospital. On his direct examination, Weinglass never asked him what occurred after Wednesday the 26th of August left out Thursday and Friday. So I started asking him about after
Wednesday and they objected and the judge said we opened it up because you denied that everything charged against you in the indictment on your direct examination and that included Thursday so now I get to it. On Thursday, the governments had previously — we had previously presented evidence that at the Logan statute in grant
Park there’s a General Logan sitting on his horse and it’s up on a hill. The whole statute is up on a hill and they testified that Hoffman with a megaphone when the whole
crowd was — if that statue on Thursday, he had said we have the big cheese now
meaning Radford. Let’s kidnap him, take him to the amphitheater and snuff him if the police touch us and the crowd began surging up after Radford who had gone up the hill to get some people off the horse.
Jonathan Amarilio: So he was saying that the crowd should take the police superintendent hostage basically?
Dick Schultz: And snuff him if the police get in the way. So now we have Hoffman on cross-examination on Thursday. This happened on Thursday. They left it out on the direct examination and I asked him, well, he categorically denied anything about kidnapping Radford or inciting the crowd to charge up the hill so this book that I mentioned before ‘Revolution for The Hell of It’ he wrote. That he urged the crowd to
kidnap Radford and if the police interfered he announced I’ll kill the top pig and I meant
it, that’s what he wrote. So now we’re on cross examination and I bring him to his book and it was pathetic. Yes, I don’t remember writing and it was all a blur to him.
The jury saw so clearly that they had left out Thursday in the direct examination because that was all before them that he had lied on his cross-examination that he didn’t do this and he wrote it in the book and then finally he wrote in his book that he wanted to smash this system by any means at his disposal. He wanted to wreck this fucking society. He was totally destroyed. It was sad to see actually, it was pathetic. So here’s a man who had the jury in his palm and who was totally destroyed, totally
Jonathan Amarilio: So Dick the jury looks at all the evidence that we’ve been discussing and they found five of the seven defendants Davis Dellinger, Hayden, Hoffman and Rubin guilty of traveling between states with the intent to incite a riot. They acquitted all seven of them of conspiracy and acquitted Froines and Weiner on all charges and then Judge Hoffman also convicted all of the defendants and their
attorneys, Kunstler and Weinglass on 159 counts of criminal contempt imposing sentences that ranged from months to years on all of them. The Seventh Circuit which
is the Appellate Court reversed on appeal the convictions and the contempt charges. Some of those contempt charges were tried again and the defendants and their
attorneys were found guilty of them but the district court that heard that case
didn’t impose prison sentences or fines. And that is going to be our show for today. I want to thank our guest Dick Schultz for this truly fascinating look back on one of the most unique trials in American history. This was a rare opportunity and I’m thankful for it Dick. I know you don’t give many interviews. I really enjoyed it and I think our audience will feel the same way. Thank you.
Dick Schultz: You’re welcome.
Jonathan Amarilio: I also want to thank our executive producer Jen Byrne of the CBA, Adam Lockwood on sound and everyone at the Legal Talk Network family. Remember you can follow us and send us comments, questions, episode ideas or just
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wherever you download our podcast. It helps us get the word out. Until next time for everyone here at the CBA, thank you for joining us and we’ll see you soon @theBar.
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