Sinclair in Court


Fifth Estate # 91, October 30-November 12, 1969

John Sinclair was arraigned in Federal District Court in Detroit Oct. 23, on charges that he conspired with two other White Panthers to place explosives at an Ann Arbor CIA office last year.

The others accused are Jack Forrest and Pun Plamondon, White Panther Minister of Defense, who still has not been apprehended at this writing. Pun is charged in a separate count of doing the &crust bombing that ripped apart the international pig office.

David Valler, a deranged acid-head who in fact committed the bombing, is the chief witness against the three and named as a co-conspirator, but not a defendant in the indictment.

Sinclair was brought into Judge Thomas Thornton’s courtroom handcuffed to a Federal marshal after being driven down from Marquette Prison, where he is serving 9-1/2 to 10 years on a frame-up dope rap.

If the pigs thought putting John in that Upper Peninsula Siberia would break his spirit they must have felt disappointed as he boldly answered the cheers and fist signs from his assembled friends with a raised clenched fist of his own.

It was like he had never left—he smiled at people, hugged his attorneys, Jim Lafferty and Marc Stickgold and played with his daughter Sunny who had crossed the forbidden area reserved for the Court’s officials and climbed to her father’s knee.

A burly marshal came and took her back to her proper station.

Many in the crowd wore war paint on their faces and even though Leni, John’s wife, and his brother Dave had tears streaming down their cheeks, they were all warriors come to see a fellow brave receive the white man’s justice. The court proceedings were quick and sweet. John, his hair short, but with his mustache regrown, was read the charges and put on $5,000 personal bond and ordered returned to prison. Through the whole proceedings John stood with his hands behind his back holding the red book of the sayings of Mao Tse-Tung.

One sees John, a political prisoner of the state, undaunted by its persecution and realizes that he will not be broken; that if anything his revolutionary spirit has grown and become strengthened.

And then one looks at the pitiful spectacle of David Valler, a witness against the people he once claimed as his friends, his personality on the verge of disintegration, cooperating with the pigs he once swore to destroy. They have instead destroyed him, made a pathetic puppet of him which produces perjured testimony and crazed newspaper stories at their bidding.

Jack Forrest, who once befriended Valler, received the following brief letter from Valler at Ionai Prison.


“Looks like this is your unlucky time of the year. Messing up your leg and now the court case for the bombings. Life’s a real hassle at times, but it’s worth it.

“It may look like I hate you when we go to court, but I don’t. Hope you’re enjoying the Detroit News articles I’m doing. You probably get some good rushes out of them.

“Nothing much else to say, except get well soon.


This is a letter from a sick man. Who else could write such an insipid statement to a man he is trying to lie into prison for the crimes he himself committed.

It’s almost a joke that the court would allow a case based on the testimony of a sad clown like Valler to come to trial, but Justice will have its day and so will President Dave.