Case Facts

Arrested: February 12, 1986

Charges: Conspiracy to aid bank expropriation, Dr. Shakur was charged under the U. S. conspiracy laws known as “Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization” or ‘RICO’ laws (8 counts). The U.S. government alleged that Mutulu’s political associates constituted a racketeering enterprise. Aiding in the escape of Assata Shakur (Joanne Chesimard).

Jurisdiction: U.S. Federal Court

Disposition: Conviction on all counts – 60 years imprisonment with a recommendation of no parole.

Case Status:

Issues Raised at Trial

  1. Evidence, which was illegally seized, was allowed to be presented by the prosecuting attorney.
  2. Explosives were allowed to be presented in evidence despite the fact that there were no bombings charged against Dr. Shakur.
  3. A sitting juror was re-admitted after confessing to having discussed the case outside the jury room.
  4. Despite the juror’s admission of having discussed the case outside the jury room, the judge refused a thorough inquiry.
  5. Evidence used to convict Dr. Shakur was seized from the home of Marilyn Buck. There was no proof to link Dr. Shakur to the evidence used against him.
  6. The U.S. government presented testimony of a paid informant who claimed to have participated in the actions for which Dr. Shakur was indicted. Tyrone Ryson received $110,000′ in material benefits and a reduced sentence for his testimony.
  7. Dr. Shakur submitted a Prisoner of War petition stating the nature of the charges against him coupled with his years of resistance to political oppression required that his case be heard before an international court. The judge denied the motion.
  8. The Court allowed the prosecutor to put before the jury Dr. Shakur’s Prisoner of War (P.O.W.) claim without allowing Dr. Shakur to present any evidence and without the Judge instructing the jury as to the law.
  9. In his sentencing statement, Judge Charles Haight conceded that Dr. Shakur was illegally targeted by the FBI’s Counterintelligence Program. For years before the indictment, Dr. Shakur was a target of the F.B.I. and other police agencies subject to their illegal acts as he exercised his constitutional rights as an activist in the Black movement. Thus Judge Haight found that “Dr. Shakur while exercising constitutional liberties was illegally pursued by federal law enforcement officers.” and further: “the rights of Dr. Shakur … were violated by the COINTELPRO program.”The COINTELPRO program was a program initiated by the F.B.I. to neutralize leaders of the Black movement.