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For Immediate Release 3/31/22

CONTACT: Steve Taylor (314) 210-1322 steve@globaljusticeecology.org

New BG Podcast: Remembering Renowned Civil Rights Attorney Dennis Cunningham and his successful lawsuit against FBI for Judi Bari Bombing

Cunningham shared legal fees from case with activists

In an interview with Breaking Green, a podcast by Global Justice Ecology Project, long time Bay Area environmental activist Karen Pickett discussed the history of long-time friend Dennis Cunningham, the famed civil rights attorney who died on March 6th at the age of 86. Pickett noted that when Cunninham was paid legal fees after winning an historic lawsuit against the FBI and Oakland Police, he shared them with activists working on the case. “He shared that money with everyone, including myself, and you know who does that?” she asked.

Pickett also discussed the lawsuit, which was filed following the May 24, 1990 bombing of a car belonging to activist Judi Bari which nearly killed her and injured passenger Daryl Cherney. Bari and Cherney were on an organizing tour for “Redwood Summer,” a campaign to stop the logging of the ancient redwoods in northern California, when the bombing occurred.

In 2002, a California jury awarded Bari and Cherney 4.4 million dollars for the violation of their 1st and 4th amendment rights after they were arrested as suspects in their own bombing. Charges were never filed against anyone else for the bombing despite the activists receiving numerous death threats prior to the bombing.

Karen Pickett, who directs the Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters, a redwood forest protection group, and was also a long-time friend of Judi Bari said that Bari, who died of cancer in 1997, worked on the case “quite literally to the day she died.”

“I stayed up at her house, the last two weeks of her life […] and she would have me sit next to the bed with this binder. […] It was depositions. It was all material that we were using to build the case […] and she would, you know, say wait a second, go back to you know, what you just said and, and okay, refer back to this other page, because those things don’t line up, and we make a note of that.” Pickett recalled.

The Interview may be heard on Breaking Green, a podcast by Global Justice Ecology Project.