On his way out the door, disgraced New York Governor Andrew Cuomo granted clemency to David Gilbert, a name unfamiliar to an entire generation of Americans. Gilbert is a certified domestic terrorist.
Now 76, Gilbert was a member of the Weather Underground, a domestic terrorist group that, as David Horowitz explained, was founded in 1969 with a formal “declaration of war” against “Amerikka.” During the 1970s, according to an FBI report, the group claimed responsibility for 25 bombings, including the Pentagon, the U.S. Capitol, and the office of the California attorney general.
After their revolution, as Mary Grabar recalls, the Weathermen planned to “order the reeducation of an estimated 100 million Americans and the execution of the estimated 25 million who would resist reeducation.” The Weathermen made common cause with the Black Liberation Army, a cop-hunting group led by Joanne Chesimard that assassinated at least six police officers in the early 1970s.
In 1981, Weather Underground terrorist Kathy Boudin participated in the $1.6 million Brinks robbery in Nyack, New York, that claimed the lives of two police officers and one guard. David Gilbert was the getaway driver. At the time of the robbery, their son Chesa, named after cop-killer Joanne Chesimard, was 14 months old. With Gilbert in prison, Chesa was duly adopted by Weather Underground stalwarts Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn.
Ayers and Dohrn, a big fan of Charles Manson, sent young Chesa to all the best schools. Like mommy, Chesa believed that violent criminals were victims of an unjust capitalist society. As Orwell put it in Animal Farm, “rats are comrades.” In effect, that was Boudin’s platform in his run for district attorney in San Francisco, and in 2019 Boudin prevailed over interim District Attorney Suzy Loftus.
“My heart is bursting,” Boudin tweeted when getting the news of Andrew Cuomo’s action. “On the eve of my first child’s birth, my dad—who’s been in prison nearly my entire life—was granted clemency. He never intended harm, yet his crime devastated many families. My heart breaks for the families that can never get their loved ones back.” That would include the families of Nyack, New York, police officers Edward O’Grady and Waverly Brown, slain in the 1981 attack.
Cuomo said Gilbert only drove the getaway vehicle, which failed to register with Michael Paige, son of slain Brinks’ security guard Peter Paige. “I still can’t comprehend why the governor would commute the sentence of a domestic terrorist who was responsible for the murders of two police officers and a Brinks guard,” Paige told reporters. “You can’t say, ‘Oh, he was just a driver! These guys had an intricate plan. They had men with machine guns.”
As embattled New Yorkers may recall, Cuomo ordered COVID-positive seniors back into nursing homes where thousands perished. According to New York Attorney General Letitia James, the official count of 8,505 could be about half the true number. Of course, Cuomo didn’t put them in the nursing homes himself. He only gave the order, just as Weatherman David Gilbert was only the driver.
Chesa Boudin’s mother, Kathy, was granted parole in 2003 and is now a researcher and adjunct professor at the Center for Justice at Columbia University. Cop-killer Joanne Chesimard escaped prison in 1976 and fled to Cuba, which has refused to extradite her. The fugitive is now known as Assata Shakur and idolized by Black Lives Matter.
Though granted clemency, Gilbert must still make his case to a parole board. In the meantime, voters could decide to cut Chesa loose. As Ballotpedia explains, two recall efforts “allege that Boudin’s approach has led to increased crime rates.” Organizers have until October 25 to gather enough signatures to move the recall forward.
Black conservative radio host Larry Elder, campaigning to replace California Governor Gavin Newsom, also supports the Boudin recall effort, as well as the recall of Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón. Gascón’s name came up in another landmark case that goes back even farther than Gilbert’s.
On Friday, a California clemency panel granted parole to Sirhan Sirhan, who in 1968 gunned down Democratic presidential candidate Robert Kennedy, brother of President John F. Kennedy, himself assassinated in 1963. Sirhan, a Jordanian immigrant, killed Kennedy because he was a supporter of Israel. A California parole board thinks the convicted murderer is safe to release.
Gascón has barred prosecutors from attending parole hearings, even in the case of Ruben Beltran, convicted of raping a six-year-old girl and a boy eight years old. So unlike a trial, the parole hearing is one-sided, and that surely played a role with Sirhan. His release requires approval from Newsom, who in 2019 reprieved 737 convicted murderers on California’s death row, the worst of the worst. Newsom faces a recall vote on September 14.