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Ohio Sedition Trial (7 ): 1989

Expensive Acquittals And Mistrials

Although there was evidence to connect the two men with at least some of the bombings and robberies, it was difficult to prove that these actions added up to "racketeering" as defined by the statute, let alone a consistent plot to overthrow the government. And that is evidently how the jurors saw things. After 18 days of deliberation, they came in with a unanimous verdict to acquit all three on the charge of seditious conspiracy. They also acquitted Patricia Levasseur on the charge of racketeering, but they said they could not agree on that charge for the two men or with the conspiracy to engage in racketeering for the three of them. The judge asked them to go back into session and try to come to some decision. Instead, after another day and a half of deliberation, the jury came back and reported they were "hopelessly deadlocked." The judge thus declared a mistrial on the racketeering charges, and in January 1990, the government announced it would not ask for a new trial. The Springfield trial, including jury selection, had run for over 19 months and—including all associated investigative, legal, and security fees—had cost the government by some estimates as much as $60 million.

John S. Bowman

Suggestions for Further Reading

Boston Globe September 1, 1988; January 9, 1989; March 26, 1989; April 26, 1989; November 5, 26, 28, 30 1989.

Churchill, Ward, and Jim Vander Wall. The COINTELPRO Papers. Boston: South Bend Press, 1990.

Hartford Courant (January 12, 1989).

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1989 to 1994Ohio Sedition Trial (7 ): 1989 - The Underlying Crimes, Raising The Stakes, The Long Road To The Verdicts Begins, Expensive Acquittals And Mistrials