By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. document.querySelector("#ads").addEventListener('click',function(){ During the trial, pickets paraded in front of Kunstler's home in Greenwich Village in Manhattan and windows were broken. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. eventAction: 'load' hitType: 'event', Kunstler especially was known as a left-wing lawyer, often taking on clients who were unpopular and disliked. hitType: 'event', William Moses Kunstler, U.S. lawyer (born July 7, 1919, New York, N.Y.—died Sept. 4, 1995, New York), was a flamboyant radical who defended a number of controversial clients in high-profile cases. After graduating (1941) from Yale University, Kunstler saw World War II army service in the Pacific and was awarded a Bronze Star. The suspects had come to the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago to protest the war in Vietnam. William Kunstler was one of the country's best known and most reviled radical lawyers, defending clients whom most attorneys shunned. After he passed the bar, Kunstler and his brother, Michael, opened a family law firm of Kunstler & Kunstler. MEAWW brings you the best content from its global team of Kunstler died seven months later on September 4, 1995, in New York City, one month before Simpson was acquitted. Privacy Policy. document.querySelector("#google_image_div").addEventListener('click',function(){ },false) document.querySelector("#adunit").addEventListener('click',function(){ The disruptive antics of the defendants and Kunstler’s spirited battles with Judge Hoffman during the Chicago Seven trial led to hundreds of contempt citations. Throughout his career, Kunstler remained staunchly committed to defending people and movements who were widely unpopular. if(document.querySelector("#adunit")){ Patriarca, Nicholas L. Bianco, John Gotti, and Louis Ferrante, who claimed in his memoir, Unlocked: the Life and Crimes of a Mafia Insider, that "he [Kunstler] took a hundred grand off me." His clients included civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., mafia don John Gotti, and a terrorist accused in the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City. gads_event = event; Eight people were originally charged by the US federal government with conspiracy, inciting to riot, and other charges — Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen), Jerry Rubin (Jeremy Strong), Bobby Seale (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), David Dellinger (John Carroll Lynch), Tom Hayden (Eddie Redmayne), Rennie Davis (Alex Sharp), John Froines (Daniel Flaherty) and Lee Weiner (Noah Robbins). He was revered by supporters and condemned by critics. ga('ads.send', { }); }); Critics called Kunstler a showboat and a publicity seeker. In the early 1950s, Kunstler taught law at the New York Law School. His first marriage to Lotte Rosenberger ended in divorce in the mid-1970s. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/biography/William-Kunstler, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Global Freedom Struggle - Biography of William Moses Kunstler. As the movement expanded from civil rights to Black Power, from protest to militant dissent, I took almost all political cases that came my way." Associated Press wire service, September 5, 1995. He lived with a searing pace, a furious energy, and overwhelming love of right and dislike of wrong.". "The sixties was my time of transformation. Updates? Kunstler had one brother, Michael, and one sister, Mary. In the fall of 1992, Kunstler returned to New York Law School to teach a seminar on constitutional law. Kunstler, in his book, My Life as a Radical Lawyer, wrote this about Judge Hoffman: "He reminded me [more] of the Queen in Alice in Wonderland with her cries, 'Off with their heads,' than a dignified judicial figure." If you have an entertainment scoop or a story for us, please reach out to us on (323) 421-7515. The Aaron Sorkin-written and directed political drama, 'The Trial of the Chicago 7', is finally on Netflix. The movie focuses on the infamous Chicago conspiracy trial that took place in 1969 in the aftermath of the Chicago protests of the previous year, amid the Democratic National Convention. His law practice was unremarkable until, in the mid-1950s, he represented a State Department employee whose travel to China as a freelance writer had resulted in the confiscation of his passport. window.googletag.pubads().addEventListener('impressionViewable', function(event) { William Kunstler (1919-1995) was one of the best known civil rights attorneys in the United States. We are one of the world’s fastest growing window.googletag.pubads().addEventListener('slotOnload', function(event) { and David had challenged their liberalism, and they had failed the test.”. ga('ads.send', { William Moses Kunstler was born July 7, 1919, in New York to Dr. Monroe Bradford Kunstler, a doctor, and the former Frances Mandelbaum, whose father had been a prominent doctor. In that trial, Kunstler opened his closing argument with a line from Sir Walter Scott's The Lay of The Last Minstrel: "Breathes there the man with soul so dead, who never to Kunstler was called in as an intermediary and later filed lawsuits on behalf of prisoners. After the Worthy case, Kunstler ended up spending a lot of time in the southern United States, representing Freedom Riders arrested on breach of peace and disorderly conduct charges for staging civil rights protests in places like Birmingham, Alabama, and Biloxi, Mississippi. Kunstler was convicted of two counts of contempt, but was not sentenced to prison. Most controversial was his defense of such clients as alleged Mafia boss John Gotti and, in his most recent case, Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and other suspected terrorists linked to the bombing of New York City’s World Trade Center in 1993.

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