George and Mike spend a lot of time together, as previously reported by Scoop. They work well together to defeat “the bad guys” (an accurate and clear name they call the defendants). Scoop has observed, as well as others, their compatibility and sense of purpose. Hope you all realize what this team and their core of advisors bring to the table. They are unbeatable. Sure the bad guys wanted to imprison Mike, break the mining company and get their first victory in privatizing criminal prosecution (criminalizing accidents along the way). George somehow over the months successfully drove this reality into Mike’ head. No accountability plus getting a grant for the front CDAA non-profit corporation would be quite the coup for them, especially the leader, Gayle Filter. George understood the deep social issues interwoven into the case. He also quickly understood the total collapse of his profession. “When did we allow and accept lawyers to suborn perjury in the court room?” he would ask.
George entered the world of law after breaking away from the scholarly Jesuit order. But the why and how he so fully understood and grabbed onto the Original Sixteen to One Mine and Mike’s law suit is traceable to personal events between 1961-63, which remained with him. Few people know the following.
Scoop joined George and Mike at a gourmet Basque dinner in Nevada City at a table with three strangers so can report this as first hand info. Mike has developed a way of dragging out some of the stuff that George keeps inside, maybe because it was a painful memory or more likely because George can be so disinclined to reveal himself. Scoop thinks this action about exposing the bad guys has much to do about their shared passions, shared beliefs in America and its justice system but back to the story.
At twenty years old George left the Jesuits and shortly thereafter decided to drive from California to his parents home on the ease coast. He took the southern route. Along the way he talked to a young man who was headed to school in Mississippi. George said, “It is not far out of the way so I’ll drive you there.” It was a Negro college where early voter registrations were underway. George decided to help for a while, which turned into an extended stay. One afternoon he was sitting at a counter with the locals when the Mississippi police arrived to bust up the place. George slugged a cop who was beating up a five or six year old girl. Oops! He awoke in an all black prison where he was incarcerated for 9 ½ months. No phone calls out. No phone calls in. He just disappeared.
His treatment was sinful. The guards broke both arms, beat him and for sport would put their shotguns into his mouth and pull the trigger, adding, “Now you die, nigger lover.” George was a teacher to his fellow inmates. History, philosophy and especially music were his topics. One day the torture from the guards stopped. He later found out that the inmates told the guards that any more and there would be serious consequences. Within his battered body, the all black inmates and the all white guards a sense of harmony was found. George was abused no more.
One day a white guy from New York arrived to the prison yard. Since George was the only white face, he stood out. The man immediately approach him (the warden was there as well). Without a word the white guy took George’s arm and led him out of the prison. George refused medical attention in Mississippi and went instead to Saint Louis where he remained in a hospital’s care for ten months. When he finally reached his mother, she said, “Well, you got what you deserved for going to Mississippi.” George did not see it that way. He drove back to California and enrolled in school in order to become a lawyer. His life took on a new direction, driven by a judicial sense of purpose.
All at our table were stunned, except Mike because he knew the story. He kept on George to continue even when George probably preferred to stop talking about himself. Scoop was at another dinner table another time when George turned the tables on Mike. Mike seemed in denial about how serious, powerful and close to succeeding the bad guys were in putting him in prison. This particular night George silenced him with the reality of Mike’s plight and the powerful forces aligned against him and the mine. While George’s and Mike’s experiences were certainly different, they arrived at the same place at a time in their lives where so much opportunity as well as duty was at hand to go beyond the horizon. This is where they are headed.
Scoop now has the terrible responsibility to report to you that this Monday night about 7:30 pm an unexpected and unwanted twist in their game took place. George was killed in his car a few miles out of Alleghany when he slipped off the road and smashed into a tree. Scoop along with everybody he had met in Sierra County and Nevada County are deeply mourning. George’s wife, Betsey spent that morning with her husband at their Richmond home before he left for the mine. She said she had not seen him so poised, so confident and so much like the old George as that morning and told him so. George was at the top of his game: the sanctity of the law, the process of the judicial system and getting the bad guys. Scoop saw George in Alleghany two hours before the tragic accident and felt the same. George knew that bad guys are going down, the law and the evidence are impenetrable, the case is prepared and social justice as well as justice for his client will prevail. One look at Mike right now and you can tell that George is still at his side.