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David Boeri reports on the trial of five Harvard alumni for protesting apartheid
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[Harvard alumni on trial]
Original Airdate: 5/28/1987

Length: 00:02:36
Item Type: newstape - edited story master

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Full Description

Visual: Footage of court proceedings in the Middlesex County Courthouse. Shots of the judge, bailiff and co-defendants in the trial of Harvard alumni and alumnae.

David Boeri reports that five Harvard alumni and other protesters were arrested outside of the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University last November; that the protesters were demonstrating against apartheid outside of a fundraising dinner at the museum. Boeri notes that the fundraising dinner had originally been scheduled for September; that apartheid protests forced the dinner to be postponed until November; that arrests were made at the demonstration in November.

V: Footage of apartheid protesters sitting in the museum. The protesters are clapping and chanting. Footage of Don Carney (lieutenant, Cambridge Police Department) in court. He testifies that the protesters were told to leave the area; that the protesters were arrested when they failed to comply with the order. Footage of Peter Bellotti (Assistant District Attorney, Middlesex County) saying that no one was arrested for protesting. Shots of the audience in the courtroom; of a man standing before a blackboard in the courtroom. He indicates locations on a map drawn on the blackboard.

Boeri reports that the defendants did not contest the testimony of police officers who arrested them; that the defendants want to use their trial to put Harvard on trial.

V: Footage of Peggy Schirmer (defendant, Radcliffe Class of 1938) saying that Harvard has almost $300 million invested in companies doing business in South Africa; that Harvard has no plans to divest those stocks. Shots of the defendants conferring in the courtroom.

Boeri reports that the defendants claim to have committed lesser crimes to prevent the greater crime of economic support of apartheid; that Judge Wendy Gershengorn (Middlesex County) has ruled that the defendants cannot use the necessity defense. Boeri adds that the defendants are acting as their own lawyers; that the defendants are testing the limits of the judge's ruling.

V: Shots of Gershengorn conferring with the defendants who stand in front of her bench. Footage of Bellotti objecting to testimony by Sarah Browning (defendant, Harvard Class of 1984); of the Bellotti objecting to testimony by Schirmer. Gershengorn sustains the Bellotti's objections. Footage of the Bellotti objecting twice to testimony by Joel Reisman (defendant, Harvard Class of 1975). Shots of Gershengorn issuing instructions from the bench.

Boeri reports that the defendants were frustrated by Gershengorn's refusal to hear testimony relevant to apartheid.

V: Footage of Robert Wolff (defendant, Harvard Class of 1954) saying that they were at the museum to protest apartheid; that the reason for the protest is relevant evidence; that the jury should be allowed to hear that evidence.

Boeri reports that the trial will be slow and tedious. Boeri notes that the defendants are trying to use the necessity defense; that the prosecution objects to much of their testimony.

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