Security Tight For Revolutionaries’ Trial
BOSTON (AP) _ Security was unusually tight today as attorneys prepared to choose a jury for the trial of eight self-proclaimed revolutionaries accused of trying to overthrow the government through a string of bombings and bank robberies.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Louck said jury selection will probably take several days. The court called 500 potential jurors for the trial, which may take four to six months.
One of the three entrances to the federal building was chained shut today. Anyone entering had to pass through newly installed metal detectors, and guards scanned briefcases and purses with an X-ray machine.
The trial was moved from the third to the 12th floor for increased security, and visitors to the courtroom had to pass through a second metal detector immediately after leaving the elevator. Use of some of the building’s elevators will be restricted and mail delivery to 12th floor offices has been barred.
The eight are accused of seditious conspiracy and racketeering centering on 10 bank holdups and 19 bombings and attempted bombings, including a 1976 explosion at the Suffolk County Courthouse that injured 22 people.
The defendants are Raymond L. Levasseur, 39, and his wife, Patricia H. Gros, 32, of Calais, Maine; Thomas W. Manning, 39, and his wife, Carol A. Manning, 31, of Sanford, Maine; Jaan K. Laaman, 38, and his wife, Barbara J. Curzi-Laaman, 29, of Boston; Richard C. Williams, 39, of Boston; and Christopher E. King, 36, of Cambridge.
Most are serving sentences on other charges, including bombings of military and corporate buildings.
The prosecution contends the group, which called itself at the Sam Melville-Jonathan Jackson Unit and later the United Freedom Front, carried out bank holdups that netted nearly $900,000 to finance their alleged plans to overthrow the government.
Manning and Williams stood trial in New Jersey late last year in the murder of a state trooper. Jurors said Jan. 18 they could not reach a verdict in Williams’ case, but they convicted Manning of felony murder. Prosecutors plan to retry Williams.
Manning had been on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List.
Most of the defendants are acting as their own attorneys. They asked for the appointment of activist attorney William Kunstler, but a federal appeals court denied the request last week. Kunstler and an associate defended Williams and Manning in the New Jersey case.