Subversive Historian – 09/24/08

The Start of the Chicago 8 Trial

Thirty-nine years ago on this day in people’s history, the trial of the Chicago eight commenced. On September 24th, 1969, the defendants in the case were charged with conspiracy and inciting to riot in relation to protests outside of the Democratic National Convention the year before in Chicago. The eight soon became seven as Black Panther Bobby Seale called the presiding judge a pig and a racist and was cut from the case as well as sentenced for contempt. The remaining defendants including Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, and Tom Hayden, remained on trial for months. The courtroom became theatrical at times with the Yippies showing up in judicial robes until all seven were found not guilty of conspiracy. Five of the seven were found guilty of crossing state lines to incite a riot, but those convictions were ultimately reversed.

During the trial, Abbie Hoffman suggested the judge try LSD and offered to set him up with a dealer. Unfortunately for Hoffman, the judge wasn’t a fan of the doors…


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