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A Special Supplement: The Trial of Bobby Seale

And I note that your counsel has remained quiet during your dissertation.

MR. SEALE: You know what? I have no counsel here. I fired that lawyer before that jury heard anything and you know it. That jury hasn’t heard all of the motions you denied behind the scenes. How you tricked that juror out of that stand there by threatening her with that jive letter that you know darned well I didn’t send, which is a lie. And they blame me every time they are being kept from their loved ones and their homes. They blame me every time they come in the room. And I never sent those letters, you know it.

THE COURT: Please continue with the direct examination.”

On October 28, 1969—this is Item No. 10—on October 28, 1969, during the afternoon session, while the witness William Frapolly was testifying on cross-examination, the following occurred in open court:

THE COURT: Mr. Weinglass, do you want to cross-examine this witness?

MR. SEALE: I would like to request to cross-examine the witness.

THE COURT: You have a lawyer here.

MR. SEALE: That man is not my lawyer. The man made statements against me. Furthermore, he violated Title 1892 of the United States. Well, you are still violating it. [Title 42 US Code Section 1981 refers to a Reconstruction statute granting black men equal protection under the law. Seale’s reference to 1892 is an error.]

THE MARSHAL: Sit down, Mr. Seale.

MR. SEALE: You violated the Code. You violated the United States laws against my rights.

THE COURT: Mr. Marshal, will you ask Mr. Seale to sit down in his chair?

MR. SEALE: You are violating Title 42, United States Criminal Code. You are violating it because it states that a black man cannot be discriminated against in his legal defense.

THE COURT: Will you sit down, Mr. Seale?

MR. SEALE: It is an old reconstruction law and you won’t recognize it. So I would like to cross-examine the witness.

THE COURT: Will you sit down, sir?

MR. SEALE: I still want to cross-examine the witness.

THE COURT: You may not.

A MARSHAL: May I remove the jury, please?

THE COURT: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you may be exused.”

After the jury was excused, the defendant Seale continued to refuse to obey the order of the Court to remain silent. Thereupon the following occurred in open court:

THE COURT: Let the record show that the defendant—

MR. SEALE: Let the record show you violated that and a black man cannot be discriminated against in relation to his legal defense and that is exactly what you have done. You know you have. Let the record show that.

THE COURT: The record shows exactly to the contrary.

MR. SEALE: The record shows that you are violating, that you violated my constitutional rights. I want to cross-examine the witness. I want to cross-examine the witness.

THE COURT: Bring in the jury, Mr. Marshal, and we will let them go for this evening.

I admonish you, sir, that you have a lot of contemptuous conduct against you.

MR. SEALE: I admonish you. You are in contempt of people’s constitutional rights. You are in contempt of the constitutional rights of the mass of the people of the United States. You are the one in contempt of people’s constitutional rights. I am not in contempt of nothing. You are the one who is in contempt. The people of America need to admonish you and the whole Nixon administration.

Let me cross-examine the witness. You won’t even let me read—you wouldn’t even let me read my statement this morning, my motion this morning, concerning the fact that I wanted a copy of the transcript for my own legal defense.

THE COURT: Bring in the jury.

Is he getting the jury?

THE CLERK: Yes, your Honor.

THE COURT: Tell him to just bring them before the box.

MR. SEALE: I want to cross-examine the witness.

MR. HAYDEN: Let the record show the judge was laughing. [Mr. Hayden is a defendant.]

MR. SEALE: Yes, he is laughing.

THE COURT: Who made that remark?

MR. FORAN: The defendant Hayden, your Honor, made the remark.

MR. SEALE: And me.

THE COURT: Let the record show that—

MR. SEALE: I still want to cross-examine the witness to defend myself.”

The jury was then returned to the courtroom to be excused for the day, during which time, the defendant Seale continued to speak. Thereafter, the following occurred in open court:

THE COURT: You may sit down.

I must admonish the defendant and his counsel—

MR. SEALE: Counsel ain’t got nothing to do with it. I’m my own counsel.

THE COURT: You are not doing very well for yourself.

MR. SEALE: Yes, that’s because you violated my constitutional rights, Judge Hoffman. That’s because you violated them overtly, deliberately, in a very racist manner. Somebody ought to point out the law to you. You don’t want to investigate it to see whether the people get their constitutional rights. 68,000 black men died in the Civil War for that right. That right was made during the Reconstruction period. They fought in that war and 68,000 of them died. That law was made for me to have my constitutional rights.

THE COURT: Do you want to listen to me for a moment?

MR. SEALE: Why should I continue to listen to you unless you are going to give me my constitutional rights? Let me defend myself.

THE COURT: I am warning you, sir, that the law—

MR. SEALE: Instead of warning, why don’t you warn me I have got a right to defend myself, huh?

THE COURT: I am warning you that the Court has the right to gag you. I don’t want to do that. Under the law you may be gagged and chained to your chair.

MR. SEALE: Gagged? I am being railroaded already. I am being railroaded already.

THE COURT: The Court has that right and I—

MR. SEALE: The Court has no right whatsoever. The Court has no right to stop me from speaking out in behalf of my constitutional rights because it is denying me the constitutional rights to speak out in behalf of myself and my legal defense.

THE COURT: The Court will be in recess until tomorrow morning at ten o’clock.

THE MARSHAL: Everyone will please rise.

MR. SEALE: I am not rising. I am not rising until he recognizes my constitutional rights. Why should I rise for him? He is not recognizing—

THE COURT: Mr. Marshal—

MR. SEALE: I am not rising.”

Item 11, on October 29, 1969, during the morning session; the following occurred in open court:

MR. SCHULTZ: If the Court please, before you came into this courtroom, if the Court please, Bobby Seale stood up and addressed this group. [Mr. Schultz is referring to the group of Panthers who had come to Court that morning.]

MR. SEALE: That’s right, brother.

MR. SCHULTZ: And Bobby Seale said if he is—

MR. SEALE: I spoke on behalf of my constitutional rights. I have a right to speak in behalf of my constitutional rights. That’s right.

MR. SCHULTZ: And he told those people in his audience, if the Court please—and I want this on the record. It happened this morning—that if he’s attacked, they know what to do.

MR. SEALE: I can speak on behalf of my constitutional rights, too.

MR. SCHULTZ: He was talking to these people about an attack by them.

MR. SEALE: You’re lying. Dirty liar. I told them to defend themselves. You are a rotten racist pig, fascist liar, that’s what you are. You’re a rotten liar. You’re a rotten liar. You are a fascist pig liar.

I said they had a right to defend themselves if they are attacked, and I hope that the record carries that, and I hope the record shows that tricky Dick Schultz, working for Richard Nixon and administration all understand that tricky Dick Schultz is a liar, and we have a right to defend ourselves, and if you attack me I will defend myself.

SPECTATORS: Right on.”

Mr. Marshal,—I will direct the marshals to clear the courtroom in the event that laughter occurs again. Clear the courtroom of spectators if that occurs again.

Let the record show now that there was loud laughter among the spectators.

MR. SCHULTZ: If the Court please, that is what he said, just as he related it.

MR. SEALE: You’re darned right.

MR. SCHULTZ: In terms of a physical attack by the people in this—

MR. SEALE: A physical attack by those damned marshals, that’s what I said.

THE COURT: Let—

MR. SEALE: And if they attack any people they have a right to defend themselves, you lying pig.

THE COURT: Let the record show the tone of Mr. Seale’s voice was one shrieking and pounding on the table and shouting. That will be dealt with appropriately at some time in the future.”

The defendant Seale then continued to speak after the jury entered the courtroom, and the Court then excused them. After the jury left, the defendant Seale made the following comment to the Court:

MR. SEALE: If a witness is on the stand and testifies against me and I stand up and speak out in behalf of my right to have my lawyer and to defend myself and you deny me that, I have a right to make those requests. I have a right to make those demands on my constitutional rights. I have a constitutional right to speak, and if you try to suppress my constitutional right to speak out in behalf of my constitutional rights, then I can only see you as a bigot, a racist, and a fascist, and I have said before and clearly indicated on the record.”

Item No. 12, on October 29, 1969, during the morning session when the cross-examination of the witness Frapolly was completed, the following occurred in open court:

THE COURT: Is there any redirect examination?

MR. SEALE: Before the redirect, I would like to request again—demand, that I be able to cross-examine the witness. My lawyer is not here. I think I have a right to defend myself in this courtroom.

THE COURT: Take the jury out, and they may go to lunch with the usual order.

MR. SEALE: You have George Washington and Benjamin Franklin sitting in a picture behind you, and they were slave owners. That’s what they were. They owned slaves. You are acting in the same manner, denying me my constitutional rights being able to cross-examine this witness.

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

MR. SEALE: You have had direct examination, we have cross-examination by the other defendants’ lawyers, and I have a right to cross-examine the witness.

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