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A Special Supplement: The Trial of Bobby Seale

THE COURT: Mr. Seale, I have admonished you previously—

MR. SEALE: I have a right to cross-examine the witness.

THE COURT:—what might happen to you if you keep on talking—

MR. SEALE: I still have the right to cross-examine the witness. Why don’t you recognize my constitutional rights?

THE COURT: Mr. Kunstler has his appearance on record here as your attorney.

MR. SEALE: He is not. He is not. He is not my lawyer, and you know that.

THE COURT: He is. I don’t know—

MR. SEALE: You know that.

THE COURT: I know that he is, and I know this is just an entire device here—

MR. SEALE: He is not my lawyer. You have forced—you have made your choice of who you think should represent me. That is not true. I make the choice of Charles R. Garry to represent me.

THE COURT: We are going to recess now, young man. If you keep this up—

MR. SEALE: Look, old man, if you keep up denying me my constitutional rights, you are being exposed to the public and the world that you do not care about people’s constitutional rights to defend themselves.

THE COURT: I will tell you that what I indicated yesterday might happen to you—

MR. SEALE: Happen to me? What can happen to me more that what Benjamin Franklin and George Washington did to black people in slavery? What can happen to me more than that?

THE COURT: And I might add since it has been said here that all of the defendants support you in your position that I might conclude that they are bad risks for bail, and I say that to you, Mr. Kunstler, that if you can’t control your client—

MR. SEALE: I still demand my constitutional rights as a defendant in this case to defend myself. I demand the right to be able to cross-examine this witness. He has made statements against me and I want my right to—

MR. SCHULTZ: May the record show, if the Court please, that while the marshals were seating Bobby Seale, pushing him in the chair, the defendant Dellinger physically attempted to interfere with the marshals by pushing them out of the way. [Mr. Dellinger, a pacifist, held his elbows to his ribs, raised his hands to protect his face, and placed his body between the marshals and Mr. Seale.]

MR. SEALE: I want my rights. I want my rights to defend myself. I want my right to defend myself in this trial. I want my rights recognized.

THE COURT: Mr. Kunstler, I will address you if you will stand up.

MR. KUNSTLER: I was going to address you, your Honor, because you had made some remarks—

MR. SEALE: He doesn’t represent me. You can address him all you want. He doesn’t represent me. He doesn’t represent me. You can address him all you want.

They are the ones that’s pushing me.

MR. KUNSTLER: Your Honor, you made a threat about my—

THE COURT: I tell you that Mr. Dellinger—if that is his name—has said here that they support the performances of this man, the statements of this man.

[Judge Hoffman has difficulty remembering the names of the defendants. Earlier he had referred to Mr. Dellinger as Dillinger and as Derringer.]

MR. KUNSTLER: They support his right to have a lawyer or to defend himself.

THE COURT: You told me you were his lawyer.

MR. KUNSTLER: Your Honor—

MR. SEALE: He is not my lawyer.

THE COURT: I have the transcript right here.

MR. KUNSTLER: Your Honor, we have gone over that.

MR. SEALE: I told you I fired him before the trial began.

THE COURT: You haven’t explained—

MR. KUNSTLER: I have explained it fully. I have been discharged—

THE COURT: No, you haven’t and you will.

MR. KUNSTLER: I told you on the 27th and I told you on the 30th.

[Mr. Kunstler is in error. He had indicated that he was not serving as Seale’s counsel on the 26th.]

THE COURT: I tell you some day you will have to explain it.

MR. KUNSTLER: That is another threat to the lawyers, your Honor. We have had so many that—

THE COURT: Now I will tell you this, that since it has been said here that all of the defendants support this man in what he is doing, I over the noon hour will reflect on whether they are good risks for bail and I shall give serious consideration to the termination of their bail if you can’t control your clients, and you couldn’t yesterday afternoon.

MR. SEALE: I am not—I am not a defendant—he is not my lawyer. I want my right to defend myself. I want my right to defend myself.

MR. KUNSTLER: Your Honor, they said this morning they supported fully his right to defend himself or have his lawyer of choice, and if that is the price of their bail, then I guess that will have to be the price of their bail.

THE COURT: Let me tell you—

MR. SEALE: I have a right to defend myself. That’s what you—

THE COURT: Will you, Mr. Marshal, have that man sit down.

MR. SEALE: You trying to make jive bargaining operations and that’s different from the right I have. I have a right to defend myself. I still have a right to defend myself whether you sit me down or not. I still got a right to defend myself. I got a right to speak on behalf of my defense. I have a right to speak out in behalf of my defense, and you know it. You know it. Why don’t you recognize my right to defend myself?

MR. SCHULTZ: May the record show that the defendant Dellinger did the same thing just now?

THE COURT: I saw it myself.

MR. KUNSTLER: Your Honor, he is trying to see what is happening.

MR. SEALE: I want the constitutional right to defend myself. I want the right to cross-examine the witness, and why don’t you recognize the law of this land and give me my constitutional right to defend myself?”

Item No. 13:

At the beginning of the afternoon session on October 29, 1969, Court and counsel engaged in a lengthy colloquy during which the following occurred:

MR. KUNSTLER: Your Honor, I would just like about two minutes to respond.

MR. SEALE: Since he made all of these statements, can I say something to the Court?

THE COURT: No, thank you.

MR. SEALE: Why not?

THE COURT: Because you have a lawyer and I am not going to go through that again.

MR. SEALE: He is not my lawyer. How come I can’t say nothing? He has distorted everything, and it relates to the fact I have a right to defend myself.

THE COURT: I ask you to sit down. If there has been any distortion by anybody, I am perfectly capable of understanding it.

MR. SEALE: I don’t think you will. See? I don’t think you will. Your past actions of denying me the constitutional right to defend myself—

THE COURT: Did you want to reply, Mr. Kunstler?

MR. SEALE: Yes, I did. I wanted to reply.

THE COURT: I was talking to Mr. Kunstler, if you don’t mind.”

The colloquy continued and the Court thereafter sent the jury into the jury room at which time the following occurred:

MR. KUNSTLER: Then I have nothing further to say, your Honor.

THE COURT: Bring in the jury, please.

MR. SEALE: What about Section 1982, Title 42 of the Code where it says the black man cannot be discriminated against in my legal defense in any court in America?

THE COURT: Mr. Seale, you do know what is going to happen to you—

MR. SEALE: You just got through saying you observed the laws. That law protects my right not to be discriminated against in my legal defense. Why don’t you recognize that? Let me defend myself. From the first time when I asked—when I attempted to make an opening statement, and you stopped me and denied me that right—

THE COURT: I will not hear you now. I am asking you to be silent.

MR. SEALE: I want to know will you—oh, look—it’s a form of racism, racism is what stopped my argument.

THE COURT: Hold the jury, Mr. Marshal.

MR. SEALE: My argument is and I still argue the point that you recognize my constitutional rights to defend myself.

THE COURT: Mr. Seale, do you want to stop or do you want me to direct the marshal—

MR. SEALE: I want to argue the point about this so you can get an understanding of the facts. I have a right to defend myself.

THE COURT: We will take a recess. [The Judge addresses the marshals.] Take that defendant into the room in there and deal with him as he should be dealt with in this circumstance.

MR. SEALE: I still want to be represented. I want to represent myself.

THE MARSHAL: Mr. Kunstler, will you instruct the defendants, sir, that it is the order of the Court that they will arise upon the recess?

MR. KUNSTLER: If that is a direction of the Court, I certainly will pass it on.

THE COURT: Let the record show none of the defendants have stood at this recess in response to the Marshal’s request. The Court will be in recess for a few minutes.

MR. SEALE: Let the record show that—

THE MARSHAL: This Court will take a brief recess.

MR. SEALE: Let the record show—“

In an attempt to maintain order in the courtroom, the Court thereupon ordered the defendant Seale removed from the courtroom at which time he was forcibly restrained by binding and gagging.

The defendant Seale was then returned to the courtroom but continued to shout through the gag. The Court then ordered the Marshal to reinforce the gag. The gag was then reinforced and the defendant Seale was returned to the courtroom. Eventually the jury was allowed in the courtroom for the afternoon session.

Item No. 14:

On October 30, 1969, at the opening of the morning session the Court ordered the marshal to adjust the restraint on the defendant Seale after he had complained of discomfort. Thereupon the following occurred in open court:

THE COURT: If the marshal has concluded that he needs assistance, of course.

[Upon the request of Mr. Weinglass and with the agreement of Mr. Schultz, Judge Hoffman orders the marshal to loosen the elastic bandage which has begun to choke Mr. Seale.]

I will excuse you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, with my usual orders.

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

MR. KUNSTLER: Your Honor, are we going to stop this medieval torture that is going on in this courtroom? I think this is a disgrace.

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