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The Chicago 7 Trial (USA): On November 21, 1972 the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the convictions of Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Rennie Davis and Tom Hayden. (Originally the Chicago 8, they also included John Froines, Lee Weiner and Bobby Seale. When Black Panther Party member Seale misbehaved, Judge Julius Hoffman separated him from the trial, leaving just the Chicago 7.) The original indictments had been made on March 19, 1969.

The trial had been characterised by a politically charged atmosphere, and the theatrics of the defendants: Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin dressed in American revolution uniforms; Seale bound and gagged under Judge Hoffman's order; Allen Ginsberg bellowing "Hare Krishna" from the witness stand. Dr Timothy Leary gave hilarious evidence. The trial was a circus, because that is what the Yippies had decided to make it.

The defendants were leaders of the New Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam, which launched the 1968 Democratic National Convention protests that turned the convention in Chicago into one of America's most embarrassing political fiascos.

On January 23, 1970, singers Judy Collins, Arlo Guthrie, Country Joe McDonald, Phil Ochs and Pete Seeger were denied permission to sing as part of Collins’s defence testimony at the trial.

The appellate court based its decision on the refusal to allow inquiry into the cultural biases of potential jurors during voir dire. Attention was also given to Judge Hoffman's "deprecatory and often antagonistic attitude toward the defense”. The court also noted that the FBI, with the knowledge and complicity of Judge Hoffman and prosecutors, had bugged the offices of the Chicago 7’s defence attorneys.


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