The defendants were 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 were made on March 19, 1969.
The evidence was submitted by the prosecution as proof of the “hippies” intent to incite a riot. The evidence was later found to have been manufactured by the police. The trial had been characterized by a politically charged atmosphere, and the theatrics of the defendants: Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin dressed in American Revolution uniforms; Seale was bound and gagged by Judge Hoffman’s order; Allen Ginsberg bellowed “Hare Krishna” from the witness stand. Dr Timothy Leary gave hilarious evidence, and recommended LSD to Judge Hoffman. The trial was a circus, because that is what the hippies 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 fiascoes.
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 defense attorneys.