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A Special Supplement: The Trial of Bobby Seale

THE COURT: Mr. Seale and Mr. Kunstler, your lawyer, I must admonish you that such outbursts are considered by the Court to be contemptuous, contumacious, and will be dealt with appropriately in the future.

MR. KUNSTLER: Your Honor, the defendant was trying to defend himself, and I have already indicated my—

THE COURT: The defendant was not defending himself.

MR. SEALE: I was, too, defending myself. Any time anybody gives me the wrong symbol in this courtroom is deliberately—

THE COURT: He is not addressing me with authority—

MR. SEALE:—distorting, and put it on the record.

THE COURT: Instruct that man to keep quiet.

MR. SEALE: I want to defend myself and ask him if he isn’t lying, and he is going to put that lying crap on the record. No, siree—I am not going to sit here and get that on the record. I am going to at least let it be known—request that you understand that this man is erroneously representing symbols directly related to the party of which I am chairman.”

Item No. 7:

In the afternoon session on October 22nd, 1969, the Court informed the defendant Seale that the Court would supervise the decorum in the courtroom and the following occurred in open court:

MR. SEALE: They don’t take orders from racist judges, but I can convey the orders for them and they will follow them.

[Seale is referring to a group of Panthers in the spectators’ section.]

THE COURT: If you continue with that sort of thing, you may expect to be punished for it. I warned you right through this trial and I warn you again, sir.

Bring in the jury.

MR. SEALE: We protested our rights for four hundred years and we have been shot and killed and murdered and brutalized and oppressed for four hundred years because of—

THE COURT: There is another instance, that outburst may appear of record and it does.

Did you get it, Miss Reporter?

THE REPORTER: Yes, sir.

MR. SEALE: I hope you got my part for the record, too, concerning that. Did you get that, ma’am?

THE REPORTER: Yes, sir.

MR. SEALE: Thank you.

THE COURT: And that outburst also.

MR. DELLINGER: I think you should understand we support Bobby Seale in this—at least I do. [Mr. Dellinger is a defendant.]

THE COURT: I haven’t asked you for any advice here, sir.

MR. SEALE: If you let me defend myself, you could instruct me on the proceedings that I can act, but I have to just—

THE COURT: You will have to be quiet.

MR. SEALE: All I have to do is clear the record. I want to defend myself in behalf of my constitutional rights.

THE COURT: Let the record show that the defendant Seale has refused to be quiet in the face of the admonition and direction of the Court.

MR. SEALE: Let the record show that Bobby Seale speaks out in behalf of his constitutional rights, his right to defend himself, his right to speak in behalf of himself in this courtroom.

THE COURT: Again let the record show that he has disobeyed the order of the Court.

Bring in the jury, Mr. Marshal.

MR. SEALE: Please do.”

Item No. 8:

At the opening of the morning session on October 27, 1969, the following occurred in open court:

THE COURT: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, good morning.

MR. SEALE: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. As I said before, I hope you don’t blame me for anything.

THE COURT: Mr. Marshal, will you tell that man to sit down.

THE MARSHAL: Take a seat, Mr. Seale.

MR. SEALE: I know—

THE COURT: Mr. Marshal, I think Mr. Seale is saying something there.

MR. SEALE: I know I am saying something. You know I am getting ready to speak out in behalf of my constitutional rights again, don’t you?

THE COURT: I will ask you to sit down, sir.

THE MARSHAL: Sit down.

MR. SEALE: You also know I am speaking out for the right to defend myself again, don’t you, because I have that right as a defendant, don’t I?

THE COURT: I will have to ask you to sit down sir.

MR. SEALE: You know what I am going to say, don’t you?

THE COURT: No, I don’t.

MR. SEALE: Well, I said it before.

THE COURT: I don’t know what you are going to say and you have a very competent lawyer of record here.

MR. SEALE: He is not my lawyer and you know I fired him before that jury was even picked and put together.

THE COURT: Will you ask him to sit down, Mr. Marshal?

THE MARSHAL: Sit down, Mr. Seale.

MR. SEALE: What about my constitutional right to defend myself and have my lawyer?

THE COURT: Your constitutional rights—

MR. SEALE: You are denying them. You have been denying them. Every other word you say is denied, denied, denied, denied, and you begin to oink in the faces of the masses of the people of this country. That is what you begin to represent, the corruptness of this rotten government, or four hundred years.

THE MARSHAL: Mr. Seale, will you sit down.

MR. SEALE: Why don’t you knock me in the mouth? Try that.

THE MARSHAL: Sit down.

THE COURT: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I regret that I will have to exuse you.

MR. SEALE: [To the jury] I hope you don’t blame me for anything and those false lying notes and letters that were sent that said the Black Panther Party threatened that jury, it’s a lie and you know it’s a lie, and the government did it to taint the jury against me.

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

MR. SEALE: You got that? This racist and fascist administrative government with its superman notions and comic book politics. We’re hip to the fact that Superman never saved no black people. You got that?

MR. KUNSTLER: I might say, your Honor, you know that I have tried to withdraw from this and you know that Mr. Seale—

THE COURT: I don’t know what you tried to do. I know your appearance is of record, and I know I have your assurance orally of record that you represent this man.

MR. KUNSTLER: You have a withdrawal of that assurance, your Honor. You knew that on September 30th, you knew that Mr. Seale had discharged me.

THE COURT: You represent him and the record shows it.

MR. KUNSTLER: Your Honor, you can’t go on those semantics. This man wants to defend himself.

THE COURT: This isn’t semantics. I am not fooled by all of this business.

MR. SEALE: I still demand the right to defend myself. You are not fooled? After you have walked over people’s constitutional rights?

THE MARSHAL: Sit down, Mr. Seale.

MR. SEALE: After you done walked over people’s constitutional rights, the Sixth Amendment, the Fifth Amendment, and the phoniness and the corruptness of this very trial, for people to have a right to speak out, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and et cetera. You have did everything you could with those jive lying witnesses up there presented by these pig agents of the Government to lie and say and condone some rotten racists, fascist crap by racist cops and pigs that beat people’s heads—and I demand my constitutional rights—demand—demand—

Call in the jury.

THE COURT: Will the Marshal bring in the jury, please.”

Item No. 9:

During the direct examination of the witness William Frapolly on October 27, 1969, the following occurred:

MR. SEALE: I object to that because my lawyer is not here. I have been denied my right to defend myself in this courtroom. I object to this man’s testimony against me because I have not been allowed my constitutional rights.

THE COURT: I repeat to you, sir, you have a lawyer. Your lawyer is Mr. Kunstler, who represented to the Court that he represents you.

MR. SEALE: He does not represent me.

THE COURT: And he has filed an appearance.

Ladies and gentlemen, I will excuse you.

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

MR. KUNSTLER: May I say I have withdrawn or attempted to withdraw.

MR. SEALE: The defense filed a motion before the jury ever heard any evidence, and I object to that testimony.

THE COURT: For your information, sir, I do not hear parties to a case who are not represented by lawyers. You are represented by a lawyer.

MR. SEALE: I am not represented by a lawyer. I am not represented by Charles Garry for your information.

THE MARSHAL: Sit down, Mr. Seale.

THE COURT: Now you just keep on this way and—

MR. SEALE: Keep on what? Keep on what?

THE COURT: Just sit down.

MR. SEALE: Keep on what? Keep on getting denied my constitutional rights?

THE COURT: Will you be quiet?

MR. SEALE: I object to that man’s—can’t I object to that man there sitting up there testifying against me and my constitutional rights denied to my lawyer being here?

Now I still object. I object because you know it is wrong. You denied me my right to defend myself. You think black people don’t have a mind. Well, we got big minds, good minds, and we know how to come forth with constitutional rights, the so-called constitutional rights. I am not going to be quiet. I am talking in behalf of my constitutional rights, man, in behalf of myself, that’s my constitutional right to talk in behalf of my constitutional rights.

THE COURT: Bring in the jury, Mr. Marshal.

MR. SEALE: I still object to that man testifying against me without my lawyer being here, without me having a right to defend myself.

Black people ain’t supposed to have a mind? That’s what you think. We got a body and a mind. I wonder, did you lose yours in the Superman syndrome comic book stories? You must have, to deny us our constitutional rights.

THE COURT: Are you getting all of this, Miss Reporter?

MR. SEALE: I hope she gets it all.

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

MR. SEALE: Taint the jury against me, send them threatening letters that I never sent, and you know it’s a lie, you keep them away from their homes and they blame me every time they come in this room because they are being kept away from their homes, and you did it.

THE COURT: Are you going to stop, sir?

MR. SEALE: I am going to talk in behalf of my constitutional rights.

THE COURT: You may continue, sir, with the direct examination of this witness.

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