The Pierre Goldman Affair

A letter to the Court from Pierre Goldman

Source: Liberation, December 10, 1969;
Translated: for by Mitchell Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2007.

While the prosecution had cited 55 witnesses, of which only 32 were present, Pierre Goldman decided to renounce having any defense witnesses. He explains why in a letter:

“I decided not to call anyone witnesses in my defense. On one hand I consider that my complete innocence is obvious to whoever considers this affair in depth. Consequently, I count on presenting myself through this evidence alone, without any of the methods traditionally used in this kind of trial, which only increase its pomp, its theatrical aspect, all of which are things that disgust me.

“On the other hand, as concerns my morality, it is no less obvious that as far as law and social morality are concerned, I am somewhat lacking in them, since I committed three armed robberies. It would thus be frivolous if this or that person – however prestigious and honorable – were to declare to the court that I am a man submerged in moral qualities. On this subject I can only oppose the present to my past, what I was during my detention, the diplomas I earned in prison. Even more, it is out of the question that I use – in however slight a way – testimony as to my morality to establish my innocence in the Lenoir affair.

“I am innocent because I am innocent, and not because various individuals will come here to stress this or that trait of my character, my conduct.

“Incidentally, it is well-known that a number of fearful assassins were men otherwise kind, apparently of excellent morals, and of a peaceful nature.

“In short, I want the affair to be judged on its content, and I intend to contribute to the best of my ability to stripping this trial of any artifice that would hide the essential.”