The February protest was prompted by contempt citations handed down against the "Chicago Seven" (Chicago Eight counting Bobby Seale, who was tried separately) defendants charged with conspiring to plan a riot during the August 1968 Democratic Party convention in Chicago. (All of the defendants were ultimately acquitted of conspiracy but punished for contempt of court.)
One "Conspiracy" Spawns Another
The Seattle Liberation Front was a loose collection of radicals and collectives organized by University of Washington professor Michael Lerner (b. 1943) in January 1970, following the collapse of the national Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) the previous summer. On April 16, 1970, a federal grand jury issued conspiracy indictments against Lerner, Susan Stern (1943-1976), Charles "Chip" Marshall (b. 1945), Mike Abeles (b. 1951), Jeff Dowd (b. 1949), Joe Kelly (b. 1946), Roger Lippman (b. 1947), and Michael Justesen (b. 1950).
All but Justesen (who "went underground" and as of January 2000 has never reappeared) were arrested and later tried in the Tacoma courtroom of Judge George Boldt (d. 1984). Judge Boldt declared a mistrial on December 10, 1970, and cited the defendants for contempt.