December 15, 1969

MR. KUNSTLER: Would you state your full name for the record?

THE WITNESS: Richard Clarkston Gregory.

MR. KUNSTLER: What is your occupation, Mr. Gregory?

THE WITNESS: Comedian, entertainer, author, and lecturer.

MR. KUNSTLER: Now, Mr. Gregory, prior to 1968 had you been involved in any civil rights demonstrations throughout the United States?

MR. FORAN: I object to that. your Honor.

THE COURT: I sustain the objection.

MR. KUNSTLER: Mr. Gregory, were you in Birmingham, Alabama, in June of 1963?


MR. FORAN: Objection.

THE COURT: I sustain the objection.

MR. KUNSTLER: Mr. Gregory, did you participate in the Selma to Montgomery march with Dr. King in 1965?

MR. FORAN: Objection to that.

THE COURT: I sustain the objection.


MR. KUNSTLER: Mr. Gregory, I am going to show vou a letter which has been labelled D-159 for identification and ask you if you can identify this letter.

THE WITNESS: It is a letter I sent to Mavor Dalev, It was pertaining to the Democratic Convention being held in Chicago and my feelings that they appointed Chicago for the Democratic Convention---

MR. FORAN: Objection.

THE COURT: I sustain the objection.

MR. KUNSTLER: Your Honor, on January 1, 1968, Mr. Gregory, after learning that Chicago had been selected as a site for the Democratic National Convention, categorized this as a cruel insult to the millions of deprived citizens."

THE COURT: I have read the letter.

MR. KUNSTLER: And he wrote to the mayor of the city and he made five demands: they have to do with the fair housing laws being enacted, Negroes being appointed to top echelons of the Police Department, lifting the injunction against Dr. King on marching demonstrations in Cicero and other parts of Chicago suburbs, to guarantee the health and safety of Reverend Jesse Jackson, the originator of the Operation Breadbasket, and to ask for higher pay for policemen and firemen in Chicago.
    These demands which he made are verv crucial to his role later on in the Democratic National Convention.  In fact, as he is prepared to testify, he indicated that his participation would be nil if the demands were not met by the mayor of the city of Chicago.

MR. FORAN: Your Honor.  Mr. Gregory is not charged by the Government with anv violations of the statute set fortli in the indictment in this case.  His motivation and what he did or did not do is totally irrelevant to the charges against these men.

THE COURT: I will let mv ruling sustaining the objection stand.

MR. KUNSTLER: Now, Mr. Gregory, did vou have occasion to meet Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin in late January or early February of 1968?

THE WITNESS: Yes, I did.

MR. KUNSTLER: What did vou sav to Jerrv Rubin and Abbie Hoffman, and what did they say to you?

THE WITNESS: They was asking me about participating in an entertainment phase of the Democratic Convention and to contact other entertainers and coordinate a schedule with them, and to participate myself.

MR. KUNSTLER: Did you agree to do this?

THE WITNESS: No, I didn't.

MR. KUNSTLER: What did you state to them with reference to agreeing or not agreeing to participate?

THE WITNESS: I can't tell you what I stated to them if I can't tell you about the letter---

MR. KUNSTLER: State what you stated to them referring to the letter, other than that you had made some demands.

THE WITNESS: I explained to them that some demands had been made.  If those demands were not met, I would not participate in nothing here in Chicago at all because it would be like going back on my word pertaining to the issue that we can't talk about.

MR. KUNSTLER: And now, I call your attention to the week of the Democratic National Convention, and specifically to August 27, 1968, in the late evening at approximately 10:00 p.m. of that dav.  Do you recall where you were then?

THE WITNESS: I had been home all that day until I received a phone call from Abbie Hoffman.  He asked me, you know, how come I hadn't been around at none of the demonstrations and none of the rallies, and was I planning on coming to the demonstrations or rallies. and I told him that I was not.  Again we are getting into what we can't talk about.

MR. KUNSTLER: Did you consent to appear at that rally?

THE WITNESS: I told him I would be there.

MR. KUNSTLER: Did you entertain at the rally?

THE WITNESS: Yes, I did.

MR. KUNSTLER: Mr. Gregory, I now call your attention to August 28, 1968.  Can you state where you were on that date at what place?

THE WITNESS: I was at home.  I think at that time I received a phone call from Mr. Dellinger.  He was asking me would I participate in some of the nonviolent demonstrations.  He said that some members from SCLC was in town, that Reverend Abernathy was in town, and would I object to any of the protest demonstrations.  Again I reiterated to Mr. Dellinger that I didn't want to get involved where I could be hit or killed and stir up black folks arotind the country.  Then at that point he asked me, you know, would I come and participate in the rally in Grant Park.

MR. KUNSTLER: Did you agree or refuse?

THE WITNESS: I agreed I would do that, yes.

MR. KUNSTLER: Now did you appear at Grant Park that afternoon?

THE WITNESS: Yes, I did.

MR. KUNSTLER: And did you speak?

THE WITNESS: Yes, I praised the young kids that was participating in the demonstrations and I told them that I had watched all the demonstrations on television and that I would hope that they would not blame the police because the police were only following orders as handed down from Mayor Daley.  And that when the Shriners come to town, they can get drunk, do anything they want to do, nobody arrests them.  This is the gist of what my speech went on the brief minutes that I talked.

MR. KUNSTLER: Is your recollection exhausted as to what else you might have said at that speech?

THE WITNESS: Right, yes.

MR. KUNSTLER: I wanted to ask you whether you asked or said anything about higher pay for policemen at that speech?

THE WITNESS: Yes, but that's the same thing that's in the letter that we're not supposed to talk about.

MR. KUNSTLER: Mr. Gregory, calling your attention to approximately nine a.m. August 29, 1968, do you know where you were at that time?

THE WITNESS: I was at the Hilton Hotel.  Julian Bond and Pierre Salinger came across the street to ask me would I come over, because there was a rally going on.

MR. KUNSTLER: Mr. Gregory, I show you D-164 for identification and ask you if you can indicate what that picture represents.

THE WITNESS: Yes.  This is the same rallv across the street from the Hilton Hotel in the park.  This is-after I had introduced Ralph---Dr. Abernathy.

MR. KUNSTLER: Now, Mr. Gregory, did there come a time on August 29, when the rally in Grant Park cime to an end?


MR. KUNSTLER: Approximately what time was that?

THE WITNESS: About four o'clock.

MR. KUNSTLER: Can you describe to the Court and jury what happened at approximately 4:00 p.m.?

THE WITNESS: Well, right going into 4:00 P.m., I was asking Abbie Hoffman had they had any plans for the people in the park, and if not, I would just end the rally, and if so, then let someone from one of their organizations come up and direct the various people in what they wanted them to do.
    At that point, the delegation from Wisconsin was marching to the International Amphitheatre, and they sent me a message over and asked me would I announce that they were going to march to the Amphitheatre as a protest to what had happened in the streets the night before.

MR. KUNSTLER: And did you see what Abbie Hoff man did?

THE WITNESS: Well, about that time, the delegation from Wisconsin was very much in evidence.  They were marching, and the crowd just left the park and headed to fall in behind the Wisconsin delegation.

MR. KUNSTLER: Now after this moment in time that you have just described, what did you and Abbie Hoffman do, if anything?

THE WITNESS: Well, everybody was following out of the park.  I decided that I would go home, and I marched out of the park and was up on the sidewalk going down south on Michigan.

MR. KUNSTLER: Where is your home, by the way?

THE WITNESS: It is 1451 East 55th street.

MR. KUNSTLER: Did you see Abbie Hoffman?

THE WITNESS: Yes.  At that point, a tank came around the corner, what I believe to have been a tank, with a machine gun on top, and then Abbie Hoff man just went in and laid in front of the tank, and there were several other young folks that laid down, and at that point I told my wife Lil, "I guess I have to get involved."

MR. KUNSTLER: And what did you do then?

THE WITNESS: I told Abbie, "Look at that machine gun on top of that tank.  We have a very dangerous situation, and no one is leading that march at that point.  And with a machine gun looking down on people, we could not afford to turn around and walk away, neither he nor 1, nor could we afford to lay down in front of the tank." He was laying down in front of the tank with his finger sticking up in the air.

MR. KUNSTLER: I take it the tank stopped?

THE WITNESS: The tank stopped, yes.

MR. KUNSTLER: And what did Abbie say to you?

THE WITNESS: He said, "OK, but understand, I have nothing to do with this once we get to the park.  I don't want a leadership position.  I don't want them asking me, you know, 'Where are we going from here?' "

MR. KUNSTLER: Would you describe what happened after you got back in Grant Park?

THE WITNESS: Well, I explained to Abbie that "I don't want to come and get involved with your demonstration." As far as I was concerned, that was white folks' business, it was white kids getting chopped by white cops, and it was the first time America was able to see that.  But somebody had to stay there because the crowd was upset, the crowd wanted to march.  And so I said "Well, I will lead a demonstration to my house."

MR. FORAN: Your Honor, I object to all of this as totally irrelevant.

THE COURT: Yes.  I will sustain the objection.

MR. KUNSTLER: Did Abbie Hoffman say to you, "Let's not do that; let's let them run through the Loop.  It's a good idea, if they are stood up, that they go and destroy property and run amuck?"

MR. FORAN: I object to that.

THE COURT: I sustain the objection.

MR. KUNSTLER: Mr. Gregory, at any time later that evening did you have occasion to see Mr. Foran, the gentleman who is seated at the counsel table that I am pointing to?

THE WITNESS: Yes, I did.

MR. KUNSTLER: Can you state to the Court and jury where you saw him?

THE WITNESS: At 18th and Michigan.

MR. KUNSTLER: Did you have a conversation with Mr. Foran?

MR. FORAN: I object to that.

THE WITNESS: Yes, I did.

(jury excused)

MR. KUNSTLER: The reason we feel this conversation is important, your Honor, is that Mr. Gregory in his conversation with Mr. Foran, after Mr. Foran asked him "Why don't you have the demonstrators march north instead of south?" Mr. Gregory then said to Mr. Foran, "Do you really want them to go to Lake Shore Drive where you got a great many rich white folks living?"  And then Mr. Foran stated, "OK," in words or substance, "maybe you shouldn't go there." And then Mr. Gregory said that he was juist joking, he really wanted to go to his house. And we think that is relevant to one of the basic issues in this case, which is the issue of racism.

THE COURT: I know you have spoken of racism throughout this trial.  I heard no evidence here that anybody is guilty of racism except one of the defendants who charged me with being a racist with absolutely no basis of fact.

MR. KUNSTLER: He said if your Honor didn't permit him to act as his own attorney you were---

THE COURT: I want this very nice witness to know that I am not, that he has made me laugh often and heartily.

MR. KUNSTLER: Your Honor, white people have always laughed at black people for a long time as entertainers.

THE COURT: I will sustain the objections of the United States Attorney.

MR. KUNSTLER: I have no further questions.

THE COURT: Cross-examination, if any.

MR. FORAN: Mr. Gregory, you mentioned that Abbie Hoffman was lying down in the street out near I 8th and Michigan on that afternoon?


MR. FORAN: You said that he had his finger up in the air.  What was he doing?

THE WITNESS: Like this (indicating).

MR. FORAN: His middle finger stuck up in the air?


MR. FORAN: I have no further questions.

THE COURT: Call your next witness, please.