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Preliminary Inventory to the Leonard Weinglass Papers

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
10th Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2630
tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu


Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Daniel Michelson and Peter Filardo.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on June 22, 2018
Description is in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Historical/Biographical Note

Leonard Irving Weinglass (August 27, 1933--March 23, 2011) graduated from Yale Law School in 1958 and was a U.S. criminal defense lawyer and constitutional law advocate who championed a number of liberal and radical causes. An expert in constitutional law, he served as co-chairman of the international committee of the National Lawyers Guild. Along with attorney William Kunstler, Weinglass represented the Chicago 7 in their 1968 trial. He also participated in the defense of Daniel Ellsberg and Anthony Russo, who were charged with leaking the Pentagon Papers and whose trial ended in a dismissal of all charges. In 1970, he represented and won the acquittal of Angela Davis who was charged with participation in the abduction and murder of a local judge. Weinglass was the lead defense attorney for Mumia Abu-Jamal for several years. In 1995, he authored a book about Abu-Jamal's case entitled Race for Justice: Mumia Abu Jamal's Fight Against the Death Penalty.

Other prominent clients included Kathy Boudin, a member of the Weather Underground charged with felony murder for her participation in an armed robbery; anti-war activist Ron Kaufman; Bill and Emily Harris (of the SLA) and Jimi Simmons, among others. In 1972, Weinglass took on the defense of John Sinclair, Chairman of the White Panther Party in Detroit, Michigan. The case became United States v. U.S. District Court, 407 U.S. 297 (1972) on appeal to the United States Supreme Court, a landmark decision prohibiting the government's use of electronic surveillance without a warrant. In 1985, Weinglass successfully defended Stephen Bingham, an attorney accused of smuggling a handgun to George Jackson in San Quentin Prison setting off an escape attempt that resulted in the death of Jackson, two other inmates, and three prison guards. Weinglass was the lead appellate attorney for the Cuban Five from 2002 until his death in 2011.