Kunstler, William (Moses)

Kunstler, William (Moses)
born July 7, 1919, New York, N.Y., U.S.
died Sept. 4, 1995, New York City

U.S. lawyer who defended a number of controversial clients in high-profile cases.

After graduating from Yale University (1941) he served in the army in the Pacific during World War II, earning a Bronze Star. He graduated from Columbia Law School in 1948. In the 1950s and '60s he became involved with the American Civil Liberties Union and clients such as the antisegregationist Freedom Riders and Martin Luther King, Jr., not only defending them in court but becoming active in their causes. He gained national renown for his defense of the "Chicago Seven" on charges of conspiring to incite riots in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic national convention. In other cases that reflected his political leanings, he represented black power activists Stokely Carmichael and Bobby Seale, antiwar activist Daniel Berrigan, and prisoners accused in the aftermath of the deadly 1971 riot at the state prison in Attica, N.Y. Perhaps his most notorious clients were Mafia boss John Gotti and Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, who was convicted in 1995 of conspiring to blow up the World Trade Center.

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Universalium. 2010.

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