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Activist Lawyer Leonard Weinglass Dies at 77

Posted Mar 25, 2011 6:32 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Lawyer Leonard Weinglass has died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 77.

Weinglass was “perhaps the nation’s pre-eminent progressive defense lawyer,” the New York Times reports, representing “political renegades, government opponents and notorious criminal defendants in a half century of controversial cases.”

Weinglass joined another crusading lawyer, William Kunstler, to defend the Chicago Seven, accused of conspiring to riot during the 1968 Democratic convention. He also defended Daniel Ellsberg for leaking the Pentagon papers about the government’s conduct in the Vietnam War, and represented the founders of the Symbionese Liberation Army in the kidnapping of newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Weinglass knew he wanted to be a lawyer at a young age, reading Clarence Darrow while sweeping the floors of his uncle’s law office.

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