New York Times August 11, 2000
Thomas Foran, 76, U.S. Attorney Who
Prosecuted Chicago Seven
By WOLFGANG SAXON
Thomas Aquinas Foran, a Chicago trial lawyer best known as the pugnacious
prosecutor in the Chicago Seven conspiracy case of 1969 and 1970, died on
Sunday at his home in suburban Lake Forest, Ill. He was 76.
The cause was cancer, his family said.
Mr. Foran was a senior partner in Foran & Schultz, the firm he founded in
1957. His name was one of the brightest in his city's legal profession, but
to the outside world it was inextricably linked to some leading characters
of a turbulent era.
There were Jerry Rubin, Rennie Davis and Abbie Hoffman, who took their
Vietnam War protests to the streets. There was William M. Kunstler, the
raspy-voiced defender of unpopular people and causes.
There was Judge Julius J. Hoffman, an equally combative presence on the
bench of Federal District Court.
And there was Mr. Foran, the United States attorney and doggedly determined
The seven defendants at the four-and-a-half-month trial stood accused of
inciting the riots that swirled around the Democratic National Convention
Mr. Foran and his prosecuting team obtained convictions against five of
them David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Mr. Rubin, Mr. Hoffman and Mr. Davis for
the lesser charge of crossing state lines with intent to incite a riot; two
defendants were acquitted, Lee Weiner and John R. Froines.
Judge Hoffman imposed prison sentences on the five, as well as on Mr.
Kunstler, whom he held in contempt. None of them served any time in prison
because an appeals court threw out the convictions and rebuked Judge
Hoffman for unseemly conduct in court and procedural errors.
Thomas Foran was born in Chicago. He interrupted his college education to
serve as a torpedo bomber pilot in the Pacific in World War II. After the
war, he graduated with a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Loyola
University and received his law degree at the University of Detroit in 1950.
In private practice, he established a solid reputation as an expert in
eminent domain law, representing the City of Chicago in major public works
projects. But he also acted as counsel for property owners.
As a United States attorney, from 1968 to 1970, he established a remarkable
conviction record in the fight against organized crime, successfully
prosecuting more than 150 people.
Mr. Foran is survived by his wife of nearly 50 years, Jean Burke Foran;
three sons, John, Edmund and Stephen; three daughters, Elizabeth Yore,
Julie Rebarchak and Regina Thibeau; a brother, Dr. John Foran; a sister,
Grace Szalinski; and 16 grandchildren.
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