Trials: Witness for the Defense

TRIALS Witness for the Defense Counsel: What is your name, sir?

Witness: Richard Joseph Daley.

Counsel: What is your occupation?

Witness: I am mayor of Chicago.

Thus began the two hours of Daley's testimony last week at the trial of seven radicals accused of conspiring to foment riots during the 1968 Democratic Convention. From the defendants' point of view, the mayor's appearance might as well have ended where it began.

The defense had summoned Daley as a witness in hopes of strengthening its argument that the authorities, not the radical leaders, had caused the violence. To put Daley on a verbal rack, however, required a...