William Kunstler, Disturbing the Universe recounts the historic life and career of one of the most controversial lawyers of our time. Directed by his daughters Emily and Sarah, the film explores not only his civil rights work and his private clients, but also how his family coped with his work.
Justice is not a popularity contest
The Freedom Riders, Chicago 8/7, Wounded Knee, Martin Luther King, Jr. , negotiating at Attica made sense for a civil rights lawyer.
But clients like Qubilah Shabazz, the daughter of Malcolm X, accused of plotting to murder Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam; Glenn Harris, a New York public school teacher who absconded with a fifteen-year-old girl for two months; Nico Minardos, a flamboyant actor indicted by Rudy Giuliani for conspiracy to ship arms to Iran; he the defendants in the Central Park wilding trial, Darrell Cabey, one of the persons shot by Bernard Goetz; John Gotti and associates of the Gambino crime family demonstrated his belief that everyone deserved justice. He defended dozens of American soldiers who refused to fight and claimed conscientious objector status, yet also represented El-Sayyid Nosair, the alleged assassin of the late Jewish leader Rabbi Meir Kahane who was acquitted of murder charges. At the time of his death Kunstler was defending Omar Abdel-Rahman (“the Blind Sheik”) for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
He lived by his principles and put justice for all above all else.