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A Special Supplement: The Trial of Bobby Seale

That is Item No. 1.

Number 2. During the morning session on October 14, 1969, while the Court, Assistant United States Attorney Schultz, and defense counsel, Mr. Weinglass, were engaged in a colloquy, the defendant Seale interrupted Mr.Weinglass, and the following occurred:

MR. SEALE: Hey, you don’t speak for me. I would like to speak on behalf of my own self and have my counsel handle my case in behalf of myself. How come I can’t speak in behalf of myself? I am my own legal counsel. I don’t want these lawyers to represent me.

THE COURT: You have a lawyer of record, and he has been of record here for you since September 24.

MR. SEALE: I have been arguing that before that jury heard one shred of evidence. I don’t want these lawyers because I can take up my own legal defense, and my lawyer is Charles Garry.

THE COURT: I direct you, sir, to remain quiet.

MR. SEALE: And just be railroaded?

THE COURT: Will you remain quiet?

MR. SEALE: I want to defend myself, do you mind, please?

THE COURT: Let the record show that the defendant Seale continued to speak after the Court courteously requested him to remain quiet.”

Item No. 3. During the morning session on October 16, 1969, out of the presence of the jury, while the witness Oklepek was testifying, a colloquy began between the Court, a marshal, and Mr. Kunstler. After a marshal explained that three spectators who were asked to leave the Court had been allowed to return, the defendant Seale stated to the Court:

I think there is a bit of racism involved myself.”

[That morning three black spectators had been asked by a marshal to leave the Court. Upon Mr. Kunstler’s complaint they were readmitted. The marshal explained that one of them had seemed to be sleeping.]

Item No. 4. During the afternoon session on October 20, 1969, out of the presence of the jury, the defendant Seale presented and extensively argued a motion to be permitted to defend himself.

At the conclusion of the argument, the jury returned to the courtroom, and the following occurred:

THE COURT: Is there any cross-examination of this witness?

MR. SEALE: I would like to say, Judge, that you denied my motion to defend myself, and you know this jury is prejudiced against me.

THE COURT: I will ask you to sit down.

MR. SEALE: You know that. The jury can’t go home to their loved ones and their homes, and you know they have been made prejudiced against me.

[Early in the trial two jurors had received threatening letters signed “The Black Panther.” These letters were then turned over to the Judge who showed one of them to the first of the two jurors and asked whether she could continue to keep an open mind. She said that she could not and was dismissed. She added that she had not seen the letter until the Judge had shown it to her since her parents had opened it in her absence and delivered it immediately to the FBI. The second juror said that she was not bothered by the letter. Nevertheless the entire jury was sequestered for the rest of the trial.]

THE COURT: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you are excused.”

The jury was then excused, and the following occurred:

MR. SEALE: They have been made prejudiced against me, I know. I should be allowed to defend myself. I should be allowed to speak so I can defend myself.

THE MARSHAL: Be quiet.

MR. SEALE: Don’t tell me to shut up. I got a right to speak. I need to speak to defend myself.

THE COURT: Mr. Seale, I must admonish you that any outburst such as you have just indulged in will be appropriately dealt with at the right time during this trial, and I must order you not to do it again.

MR. SEALE: In other words, Judge—

THE COURT: If you do, you do it at your own risk, sir.

MR. SEALE: In other words, you are saying you’re going to put me in contempt of court for speaking on behalf of myself?

THE COURT: I will not argue with you. Mr. Marshal—

MR. SEALE: Is that what you are saying to me? I mean, I want to be clear.

THE COURT: Will you be quiet? That is all. You have a lawyer to speak for you.

MR. SEALE: They don’t speak for me. I want to represent myself. Charles R. Garry is not here in my service. I have explained to you in the past what the situation was. I was put in jail, and everything else. Now you are saying you are going to put me in jail. You are going to put me in jail. That’s one thing. You are going to put me in contempt of court because I am speaking in behalf of myself.

THE COURT: I didn’t put you there, sir.

MR. SEALE: Because I am speaking in behalf of myself, to have a right to defend myself.

THE COURT: Yes, sir.

MR. SCHULTZ: If the Court pleases, there’s one thing that has not been stated.

MR. SEALE: The jury is prejudiced against me, all right, and you know it because of those threatening letters. You know it, those so-called jive threatening letters, and you know it’s a lie. How can that jury give me a fair trial?

THE COURT: Mr. Marshal, will you go to that man and ask him to be quiet?

MR. SEALE: I will speak for myself. They can’t speak on behalf of myself. I still want to defend myself, and I know I have a right. I just want to let him know. That racist, that fascist. You know, the black man tries to get a fair trial in this country. The United States Government, huh. Nixon and the rest of them. Go ahead and continue. I’ll watch and get railroaded.

MR. SCHULTZ: If the Court please, there is one thing that has not been placed on the record, the fact that since the trial began, in fact, I think since September 24 so far as I know, and I think this is 100 percent accurate, whenever the defendants have wanted to meet with Mr. Seale and the lawyers, the marshals have made arrangements to bring them to a room where all of them could get together, where Mr. Seale and the defendants and the lawyers have all met and consulted at every occasion that they have so requested. It has been done on a regular basis since the trial did begin. I just thought that should be on the record.

If there is any statement by defense counsel to the contrary, since I’m not at the meetings and I don’t know how many times they have asked the marshals to meet, I think they should so state now.

MR. SEALE: I would like to put something on the record. You weren’t in that room unless you got a tape recorder in there—

THE MARSHAL: I am asking you to keep quiet.

MR. SEALE: That man is lying on me.

THE MARSHAL: All right.

MR. SEALE: I met with these defendants and argued with these so-called cats about so-called defending me. I want that for the record, too.”

Item No. 5. During the morning session on October 22, 1969, while argument on a motion of Attorney William Kunstler for leave to withdraw as counsel for the defendant Seale, the following occurred in open court.

MR. SEALE: Can I speak on that and answer his argument?

THE COURT: No. This is not your motion, sir. Your motion has been decided.

MR. SEALE: In other words, I can’t speak in behalf of myself?

THE COURT: Not at this time, sir.

MR. SEALE: Why not?

THE COURT: Because this is your lawyer’s motion.

MR. SEALE: That ain’t my lawyer.

THE COURT: This is not your motion. This is the motion of Mr. William Kunstler for leave to withdraw as your lawyer.

MR. SEALE: Well, this man has misconstrued a whole lot of things concerning my right to defend myself and he knows he did.

They can jack you up and get you to sit up there and say rotten, crazy stuff concerning my right to defend myself.

THE COURT: I would request the marshal to ask the young man to sit down.

MR. SEALE: Well, I want my right to defend myself and this man knew, I indicated to him he was not my counsel at the very beginning when I first got here and arrived here and was in jail.

THE COURT: That motion—since you will not listen to the Court, you may sit down.

Have him sit down, Mr. Marshal.

MR. SEALE: I still want my right to defend myself. A railroad operation, and you know it, from Nixon on down. They got you running around here violating my constitutional rights.”

Item No. 6:

During the morning session on October 22nd, 1969, in the presence of the jury…the following occurred:

MR. SCHULTZ: Your Honor, before the next witness testifies, would it be possible if the Court would permit the Government—well, we haven’t offered the picture, as a matter of fact. We have the picture of the boy with the black power symbol first on his sweat shirt that was identified by Officer Tobin and Carcerano as the boy—

THE COURT: Is that Government’s Exhibit 14?

MR. SCHULTZ: That’s the one…. We are going to move to offer that exhibit in evidence at this time….

THE COURT: Show it to counsel.

MR. SEALE: That’s not a black power sign. Somebody correct the Court on that. It’s not the black power sign. It’s the power to the people sign.

[The Black Panther Party does not support the idea of Black Power. Instead it calls for Power to the People, by whom it means all oppressed people, black as well as white. Schultz could hardly have been expected to grasp this doctrinal subtlety, nor could Judge Hoffman. To Seale, on the other hand, it is of great importance.]

THE COURT: Mr. Marshal, will you stop the talking, please.

MR. SEALE: Yes, but that is still wrong, Judge Hoffman. It’s not a black power sign. It’s power to the people sign, and he is deliberately distorting that and that’s a racist technique.

MR. SCHULTZ: If the Court please, this man has repeatedly called me a racist—

MR. SEALE: Yes, you are. You are, Dick Schultz.

MR. SCHULTZ: And called Mr. Foran a racist—

THE COURT: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I will ask you to leave the Court. Mr. Marshal, remove the ladies and gentlemen of the jury:

(The following proceedings were had in open court, out of the presence and hearing of the jury:)

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