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Nakell surprised the prosecution by waiving a jury trial and simply giving the youngest black judge sitting on a California bench the manuscript of the preliminary hearing along with a brilliantly comprehensive brief he wrote about the lack of any evidence and the thorough weakness of the case which he insinuated the state had fabricated against his client. The district attorney's office was caught with their pants down, and they demanded more time and all kinds of continuances to counter the slick, tactical defense. The judge replied that they had had enough time and adjourned for the day.

A week later, the newspapers were full of stories about Charles Manson and his family's arrest and the Weathermen's so-called "days of rage" in Chicago where they trashed a few windows of downtown stores, and lots of windows of poor, elderly pensioners living out their last years in boardinghouses that just happened to be scattered throughout the wealthy Gold Coast neighborhood.

At ten o'clock one morning of that same week, Emmett went into an empty courtroom to refuse a motion of dismissal of his case from the district attorney, before accepting the judgment of his honor who found him "not guilty" of anything.

A few hours later, after sincerely saying "Thanks, be seein' you," to twenty-nine-year old Barry Nakell, Emmett was riding his bike along the California coast highway back to San Francisco alone and into Altamont for which he had laid the groundwork with the Rolling Stones, their road management and the Grateful Dead, while he was awaiting the conclusion of his case.

Emmett rode to Altamont on his chopped red Harley fandango '74. He went there knowing what might happen to the rock concert lumpen, simply because the weather was good. He also went there knowing which side he would be on. He jumped his scooter up and over a dry, brown hill and into the giant crowd that had gathered for the last of the best "Free for Alls!"

Fred Hampton had been murdered in his bed while he slept two days before, and something he once said was rolling around inside Emmett's brain ever since he heard the news. It was the kind of phrase that wasn't easy to shake, and Emmett kept hearing it to himself all that day--"I'm too proletarianly intoxicated to be astronomically intimidated!" And the weather was too good for things not to turn bad, especially since they were for "free."

A long while later, Emmett was going to explain to the New York Post columnist, Alfred G. Aronowitz, just why and how and what he was responsible for, at that last California festival ever to be "free": [end page 489]

 

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