Death of Leonard Weinglass, exceptional fighter for the Cuban Five

• U.S. attorney Leonard Weinglass, legal representative for Antonio Guerrero and untiring fighter for the cause of the Cuban Five, died yesterday in New York, sources close to him confirmed.

From the Chicago Eight to Jane Fonda, from Angela Davis to the kidnappers of Patty Hearst, from Daniel Ellsberg to Amy Carter, Weinglass represented defendants in many of the most spectacular court proceedings in the United States.

 

Weinglass came to the forefront of his profession after the trial of the Chicago Eight, demonstrators against the Vietnam War who were arrested during protests at the Democratic Party Convention in 1968. His clients included Abbie “Steal This Book” Hoffman; Tom Hayden, a political activist who later became a Democratic congressman; and Bobby Seale, who was brought to court handcuffed and gagged. The trial is the subject of an upcoming film by Steven Spielberg. Some years later, Weinglass found himself defending Daniel Ellsberg, the man who, in 1971, leaked to the press the Pentagon Papers regarding the secret history of the Vietnam War, an act which was instrumental to the downfall of President Nixon. Weinglass remained in touch with many of his former clients.

In an interview published by CubaDebate in 2004, Weinglass explained in no uncertain terms why he agreed to become Antonio’s attorney and support the cause of the Cuban Five. As he affirmed in his own words:

 

“I have never worked as a lawyer with the aim of making money, or in litigations for money. Since I studied at the university and we were taught that being a lawyer entails a commitment to justice, I assumed it as such, with absolute passion. Since that point in time I have been involved in cases where justice has been denied, or in cases of a political nature insofar as I understand politics—a commitment to those whom are denied justice everyday. I have also been in processes that occasionally, within the United States, have acquired international significance. In this particular case, these three elements are interlinked, but there is something else: we are representing five exceptional human beings. For me, Antonio is not just another defendant. Being his lawyer is more than that. It is, simply, an honor.”

Translated by Granma International

 

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