Judge Hoffman (no relation to Abbie) was so angry that he continuously cited contempt. Organizers were planning a non-violent demonstration. According to Gitlin, once Nixon became President in 1969, his Justice Department formed a special unit to orchestrate a series of indictments and trials. “We were facing ten years in jail. In the years after the trial, Weiner worked for the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith in New York and participated in protests for Russian Jews and more funding for AIDS research He also worked as a vice president for direct response at the AmeriCares Foundation. Thanks to his position as Rubin's bodyguard, Pierson was able to overhear and later repeat many of the conversations among the "Yippies.". From the day the trial began on September 24, 1969, it captivated the media. Charges against Seale were also dropped. The Trial of the Chicago 7's ending has divided critics and viewers, with Eddie Redmayne's Tom Hayden defiantly beginning to read aloud the names of almost half a million American soldiers killed in the Vietnam War. Hollywood routinely tackles movies about real-life events, but dramatic storytelling and historical accuracy don’t always mix. Made particularly timely by the recent mass protests against police brutality across the United States, The Trial of the Chicago 7 stars an ensemble cast that includes Sacha Baron Cohen and Jeremy Strong as Youth International Party leaders Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Panther leader Bobby Seale, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as prosecutor Howard Schultz, and Mark … Hoffman liked to provoke the judge (Frank Langella) by calling him “Julie” and blowing kisses to the jury. Pierson grew his hair and beard out for his undercover role, dressing up as a biker and blending in with members of a motorcycle gang (his court transcript contains the memorable statement, "I was with a fellow known as Gorilla who headed a motorcycle gang, and another fellow by the name of Banana").

We would get 30 death threats a day while on trial,” recalls Davis, who jokes that he wasn’t as nerdy as he is portrayed in the movie.

But the wheels of justice turned, and in 1972, all charges against the defendants were dropped. During the trial, it became obvious that Judge Hoffman was far from impartial toward the Chicago Seven. On the first day, Hayden gave a fist salute to the jury. Whether you find this scene triumphant or cheesy, it's only very loosely based on the true story. The arrest of the eight defendants during the 1968 protests and the subsequent trial were part of the federal government’s efforts to punish leftists and organizers of the anti-war movement.

Even Kunstler received a four-year sentence, in part for calling Hoffman’s courtroom a “medieval torture chamber.”, “There was a lot of electricity in the air,” recalls Charles Henry, professor emeritus of African American studies at the University of California, Berkeley, who attended the trial while in college. We put the government on trial.”. At the trial 12 months later, the eight defendants remained united in their opposition to the war in Vietnam, but they were far from a homogenous coalition.

During one of the many heated exchanges between Judge Hoffman and Mr. Kunstler, Ginsberg (pictured above in a courtroom sketch) started humming the Buddhist chant "Oommmmm." With the tumult of the 2016 election, Sorkin was re-inspired to examine the story of defiant activists willing to stand up for their political beliefs.

“It was very intense, yet no one ever forgot that we were there for one reason only: our opposition to the war in Vietnam. It was one of the most shocking scenes to ever take place in an American courtroom. The idea was tabled when both men had other projects in the works, but Sorkin wrote a draft in 2007. Though no cameras were allowed in the courtroom, the sketches of Seale wearing his gag were widely publicized and caused a great deal of outrage.

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