The Chicago Seven Trial ended on this date in 1970 with acquittals for Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, and Lee Weiner on charges of conspiracy. Five of them were convicted of crossing state lines with the intent to incite a riot and were each fined $5,000 and sentenced to five years in prison, but the convictions were reversed on appeal in 1972. Bobby Seale of the Black Panthers, who had his case severed from the others (and was at one point bound and gagged in the courtroom), received a four-year contempt-of-court sentence from Judge Julius Hoffman and was the only defendant to serve prison time. The trial resulted from anti-war street demonstrations at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, which were met with extensive police violence. Hoffman and Rubin, in particular, with help from their attorneys William Kunstler and Leonard Weinglass, injected both political drama and farce into the proceedings, which captured national media attention for weeks. For an extensive website about the case, with audio clips and transcripts, click here.
“MR. WEINGLASS: Where do you reside?
“THE WITNESS: I live in Woodstock Nation.
“MR. WEINGLASS: Will you tell the Court and jury where it is?
“THE WITNESS: Yes. It is a nation of alienated young people. We carry it around with us as a state of mind in the same way as the Sioux Indians carried the Sioux nation around with them. It is a nation dedicated to cooperation versus competition, to the idea that people should have better means of exchange than property or money, that there should be some other basis for human interaction. . . .” —Testimony by Abbie Hoffman