Leo Branton Jr., a lawyer who helped successfully defend Angela Davis in her 1972 murder case, has died, the Associated Press reports. He was 91.

From the Huffington Post:

Branton died of natural causes on April 19 in Los Angeles, his son, Tony Nicholas, told the Los Angeles Times.

Branton, the only 1948 black graduate of the Northwestern University law school, already had decades of civil rights law when he became co-lead defense counsel at Davis' trial.

Davis gained national attention in 1969 when the University of California, Los Angeles professor was fired for being a member of the Communist party.

The next year, she was charged in a 1970 armed takeover of a Marin County courtroom. A 17-year-old boy smuggled guns into the San Rafael courtroom and armed three black convicts. They tried to drive away with a judge, prosecutor and three women jurors as hostages. Police opened fire and in the melee the judge, the teenager and two of the convicts died.

Davis was charged with murder, kidnapping and criminal conspiracy because she had bought the smuggled guns — including a shotgun that had been taped to the judge during the escape attempt.


Read more at the Huffington Post.

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