The Chicago 7: A timeline of the protests, the clashes, the trial and the fallout

By Doug George, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Entertainment News

In the aftermath in September, a federal grand jury met to consider criminal charges. A group that became known as the Chicago 7 was charged with conspiracy, inciting to riot and other crimes. The original eight defendants indicted on March 20, 1969, were Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, Lee Weiner and Bobby Seale. Weiner was the only Chicagoan. Seale was tried separately during the proceedings.

Separately, eight police officers were charged with violating the civil rights of demonstrators by use of excessive force.


The Chicago 7 trial opened before Judge Julius Hoffman in a courtroom for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago on Sept. 24, 1969. It would drag on for several months, with frequent courtroom disruptions. Seale, who is Black, was gagged and bound to a chair on Oct. 29 after he spoke up in his own defense. The case finally went to the jury on Feb. 14, 1970. The next day Judge Hoffman convicted all defendants, plus defense attorneys William Kunstler and Leonard Weinglass, of contempt of court.



The jury returned its verdicts on Feb. 18, 1970. Froines and Weiner were acquitted. Dellinger, Davis, Hayden, Hoffman and Ruben were convicted of crossing state lines with intent to incite a riot. But in subsequent proceedings, the judge's contempt charges were reversed, and all of the convictions for inciting riots were overturned.


SOURCES: Chicago Tribune; CNN; History.com; Wikipedia; Smithsonian Magazine; Britannica; Encyclopedia of Chicago; Chicago History Museum

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