The Chicago Eight were indicted for "crossing state lines in order to incite a riot." None of the defendants were found guilty of conspiracy, but most were found guilty of intent to riot. Kunstler was charged with 24 counts of contempt of court and sentenced to four and a half years in prison. Two years later, the charges were reversed by a U.S. Court of Appeals.
United States of America vs. William M. Kunstler
Certificate of Contempt
February 15, 1970
"...This was a case marred by continual disruptive outbursts in direct defiance of judicial
authority by the defendants and defense counsel...Much of the contemptuous conduct in this case does
not show of record. The constant murmurs and snickering emanating from the defense table were not
captured on the printed page. No record, no matter how skillfully transcribed, can adequately
portray the venom, sarcasm and tone of voice employed by a speaker. No record, no matter how
skillfully transcribed, can adequately reflect the applause, the guffaws, and other subtle tactics
employed by these (ILLEGIBLE) in an attempt to break up this trial..."
FBI Surveillance on Kunstler's Appearance on WTTW-TV program, "Speaking Freely" on
March 25, 1971.
"The Conspiracy Seven trial was then discussed at some length, with Kunstler describing the
five counts in the indictment which were sustained by the jury as isolated and in alleged violation
of what he referred to as the (REDACTED) Law. These guilty verdicts were arrived at by the jury
through compromise, with Kunstler quoting the jury foreman as stating after the trial, 'We had to
give the Government something after they spent all of this money on the trial.' He characterized
the acquittals in that case, however, as a great victory for people who will fight in courtrooms
and not just say, 'I'm yours, do with me what you will,' to the judge and jury."
Click on the images above to download a PDF of all the documents in this section. (13 pages)
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