by Jeff Mackler / November issue of Socialist Action Newspaper
Lynne Stewart emerged from the Foley Square courthouse, with her husband Ralph Poynter and three of her 14 grandchildren holding tight, to be greeted by a crowd of some 400 supporters, who bestowed numerous bouquets of red roses on her.
She approached a bevy of television cameras and radio microphones, stating: “This is a moment that I share with every supporter that came, that called, that sent me a card, that stopped me in the street. It’s the cab drivers who gave me the thumbs up this morning. It’s everybody who had some role to play in this.
“I am very grateful to the judge that he gave me time off for good behavior, and he gave it to me in advance of the sentence, when he said that my extraordinary work meant that I could not get the sentence that the government wanted.
“They were disappointed, but I tell you, he did a fair and right thing, and I am grateful to him, but I am more grateful to the people—the people who showed up today, the people who have showed up, the people who had the meetings, the people who had dinners in their apartments, the people who raised funds, whatever it was. The support and love of the people is what has sustained me.”
Stewart continued: I am standing here with three of my 14 grandchildren. My lawyers pointed out to the judge that under new regulations, the government could have forbade me to ever see them again. This is how we have become in this country. And I hope the government realizes their error, because I am back out and I am staying out until after an appeal that I hope will vindicate me, that I hope will make me back to the lawyer I was.
“Any regrets? I don’t think anybody would say that going to jail for two years is something you look forward to, but as my clients have said to me, ‘I can do that standing on my head.’ No, the struggle continues. We are going to go on. This is a time that cries out for renewed resistance to a government that is not only overreaching in a case like mine—I am the point person—but to a government that overreaches into all our lives.
“But I tell you, it is such a feeling of relief. I had my medications, my book. I had a pair of sweatpants to change into, because I was prepared for the worst. But like all Irish people, you prepare for the worst, and something good happens. And something good did happen.”