Taking a gag order seriously…

Aundra Willis Carrasco
2 min readApr 20, 2024
Black Panther Party activist Bobby Seale bound and gagged in court in 1969

Here’s a piece of history for the judges assigned to the indicted criminal Donald Trump’s court cases. NOTE TO: District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan; Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee; Federal District Judge Lewis Kaplan; Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron; and New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan: Long before texting and social media invaded our lives, judges took gag orders literally. On October 29, 1969, during the Chicago Eight conspiracy trial in Chicago, courtroom sketch artist, Howard Brodie created this in-person image of Black Panther Party activist Bobby Seale attempting to write notes on a legal pad after being bound and gagged in the courtroom during the Chicago Eight conspiracy trial. A U.S. Federal Judge, Julius Hoffman had ordered Bobby Seale to be gagged and bound to his chair during his trial after Seale repeatedly asserted his right to an attorney or to defend himself. He had not participated in the planning of the MOBE (National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam) demonstrations, but he was rounded up and arrested with other MOBE members. In addition, his attorney was hospitalized and unavailable, and Seale was denied the opportunity of representing himself as well as a requested continuance. This travesty of justice was a national disgrace 54 years ago. Yet today, Donald Trump, a criminal defendant facing 91 felony counts, after being criminally indicted 4 times, continues to defy gag orders and test the previously mentioned courts. Where is the logic in tolerating this kind of behavior?

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