Leonard Weinglass passes away


US lawyer Leonard Weinglass, who represented Antonio Guerrero (one of the five Cubans incarcerated in US jails) died Wednesday, March 23, in New York after he did not recover from a cancer surgery, cubadebate reported.

Weinglass would have turned 78, since he died on the same day he was born back in 1933.

The outstanding lawyer graduated from Yale’s Law School in 1958. Some of his cases are still being studied in all American law schools at present.

He became a renowned law professional because he has represented defendants in the most spectacular judicial processes in the United States, from the Chicago Eight to Jane Fonda, from Angela Davis to the kidnappers of Patty Hearst, from Daniel Ellsberg to Amy Carter.

Weinglass became a well known lawyer after the trial of the Chicago Eight, demonstrators against the Vietnam War who were arrested during protests at the Convention of the Democratic Party in 1968 and were charged with conspiracy, inciting to riot and other charges. Among his clients were Abbie Hoffman, Tom Hayden, and other civil rights activists.

Weinglass also defended Daniel Ellsberg, a man who, in 1971, leaked some Pentagon documents about the secret history of the Vietnam War to the press. The documents served as an instrument to force President Nixon to step down from power. The case is compared to Wikileaks.

In an interview granted by Weinglass to cubadebate, the lawyer explained why he accepted to defend Antonio Guerrero and support the cause of the five Cubans held in US jails.

He said “I had 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 with political nature because I understand politics–a commitment to those whom are denied justice everyday. I have also been in processes that have acquired international character in the United States. In this particular case, these three elements are combined, though 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 simply is an honor.”

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