Liberals like this guy barely exist anymore.
The following excerpt comes from Gerry Spence’s From Freedom to Slavery, the Rebirth of Freedom in America (1996)(pp. 13-50). It is reprinted here with the permission of the author. It includes a letter that the Wyoming defense lawyer wrote to a friend who had urged that he withdraw from the Weaver case. Spence’s friend, the Jewish former CEO of Columbia Pictures, expressed concern that Spence’s defense of Weaver would lend credibility to the “despicable” racist and neo-Nazi groups with which the Weaver family had been associated.
Randy Weaver’s wife was dead, shot through the head while she clutched her child to her breast. His son was shot, twice. First they shot the child’s arm, probably destroyed the arm. The child cried out. Then, as the child was running they shot him in the back. Randy Weaver himself had been shot and wounded and Kevin Harris, a kid the Weavers had all but adopted was dying of a chest wound. The blood hadn’t cooled on Ruby Hill before the national media announced that I had taken the defense of Randy Weaver. Then all hell broke loose. My sister wrote me decrying my defense of this “racist”. There were letters to the editors in several papers that expressed their disappointment that I would lend my services to a person with Weaver’s beliefs. And I received a letter from my close friend Alan Hirschfield, the former chairman of chief executive officer of Columbia Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox, imploring me to withdraw.
“After much thought I decided to write this letter to you. It represents a very profound concern on my part regarding your decision to represent Randy Weaver. While I applaud and fully understand your motives in taking such a case, I nonetheless find this individual defense troubling. It is so because of the respectability and credibility your involvement imparts to a cause which I find despicable….”
The next morning I delivered the following letter by carrier to Mr. Hirschfield:
“I cherish your letter. It reminds me once again of our friendship, for only friends can speak and hear each other in matters so deeply a part of the soul. And your letter reminds me as well, as we must all be reminded, of the unspeakable pain every Jew has suffered from the horrors of the Holocaust. No better evidence of our friendship could be shown than your intense caring concerning what I do and what I stand for.
I met Randy Weaver in jail on the evening of his surrender. His eyes had no light in them. He was unshaven and dirty. He was naked except for yellow plastic prison coveralls, and he was cold. His small feet were clad in rubber prison sandals. In the stark setting of the prison conference room he seemed diminutive and fragile. He had spent 11 days and nights in a standoff against the government and he had lost. His wife was dead. His son was dead. His friend was near death. Weaver himself had been wounded. He had lost his freedom. He had lost it all. And now he stood face to face with a stranger who towered over him and whose words were not words of comfort. When I spoke, you, Alan, were on my mind.
“My name is Gerry Spence” I began. “I’m the lawyer you’ve been told about. Before we begin to talk I want you to understand that I do not share any of your political or religious beliefs. Many of my dearest friends are Jews. My daughter is married to a Jew. My sister is married to a black man. She has adopted a black child. I deplore what the Nazis stand for. If I defend you I will not defend your political beliefs or your religious beliefs, but your right as an American citizen to a fair trial.” His quiet answer was, “That is all I ask.” Then I motioned him to a red plastic chair and I took a similar one. And as the guards marched by and from time to time peered in, he told his story.
Categories: History and Historiography, Law/Justice
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