Click on each of these motions to unfold it and see its first page.

Dramatics like Parsons's return aside, the defense attorneys knew that they needed to devote their major efforts to carefully considered legal strategies within the intricately scripted rules of courtroom procedure. Their primary goal was to make a strong case before the judge and jury, of course, but also to lay the groundwork for an appeal, if one proved to be necessary.

On the opening day of the trial, the defense submitted two motions. The first, a five-page handwritten motion, signed by all the defendants except Parsons, asked the judge to quash the indictment. The second, a typewritten three-page motion (with several pages of supporting affidavits), requested a separate trial for Spies, Schwab, Fielden, and Neebe. As indicated, click on the images here to unfold the motions and read their first pages.

The motion to quash asserts that the indictment was improperly framed in regard to the nature of the different counts, that State's Attorneys Grinnell and Furthmann acted improperly during the grand jury proceedings by entering a room meant exclusively for the members of the grand jury and by questioning witnesses, and that the grand jury was incorrectly drawn and impaneled. The motion further contends that one juror in particular (a banker named E. S. Dreyer, whose integrity August Spies had attacked in the Arbeiter-Zeitung) was "a personal enemy of August Spies and bore him hatred and ill will." The motion also argued that the defendants had no chance to answer charges before the grand jury, and that Judge John Rogers's instructions to the jury were prejudicial.

The motion for a separate trial was based on the defense's claim that the testimony and evidence against the different defendants would be materially different. The attorneys' larger point was that evidence that might be relevant to one or more of the defendants should not be held against others to whom it was not relevant. Trying the eight men together, Black and his associates maintained, made their clients seem to be more closely associated with each other before the bombing than was in fact the case.

When he submitted an affidavit in support of the second motion, Foster angered his clients by informing Judge Gary that he did not expect Gary to grant the motion. Gary quickly proved Foster correct, ordering the trial to proceed.