Thomas Aquinas Foran, deceased August 6, 2000, was a US Attorney best known as the pugnacious chief prosecutor in the Chicago Seven conspiracy trial in which seven defendants, including Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman, and Tom Hayden, were charged with inciting riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Foran also prosecuted several police officers caught on film beating the protestors with clubs.
In the animated film Chicago 10, his voice was provided by Nick Nolte.
Mr. Foran was a senior partner in Foran & Schultz, the firm he founded in 1957. His name was one of the brightest in his city's legal profession, but to the outside world it was inextricably linked to some leading characters of a turbulent era. There were Abbie Hoffman, Bobby Seale, and Jerry Rubin, who took their Vietnam War protests to the streets. There was William M. Kunstler, the raspy-voiced defender of unpopular people and causes. There was Judge Julius J. Hoffman, an equally combative presence on the bench of Federal District Court. And there was Mr. Foran, the United States attorney and doggedly determined prosecutor. The seven defendants at the four-and-a-half-month trial stood accused of inciting the riots that swirled around the Democratic National Convention in 1968. Mr. Foran and his prosecuting team obtained convictions against five of them—David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Mr. Rubin, Mr. Hoffman and Mr. Davis—for the lesser charge of crossing state lines with intent to incite a riot; two defendants were acquitted, Lee Weiner and John R. Froines. Judge Hoffman imposed prison sentences on the five, as well as on Mr. Kunstler, whom he held in contempt. None of them served any time in prison because an appeals court threw out the convictions and rebuked Judge Hoffman for unseemly conduct in court and procedural errors.
Thomas Foran was born in Chicago. He interrupted his college education to serve as a torpedo bomber pilot in the Pacific in World War II. After the war, he graduated with a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Loyola University and received his law degree at the University of Detroit in 1950. In private practice, he established a solid reputation as an expert in eminent domain law, representing the City of Chicago in major public works projects. But he also acted as counsel for property owners. As a United States attorney, from 1968 to 1970, he established a remarkable conviction record in the fight against organized crime, successfully prosecuting more than 150 people. Mr. Foran is survived by his wife of nearly 50 years, Jean Burke Foran; three sons, John, Edmund and Stephen; three daughters, Elizabeth, Julie, and Regina; a brother, Dr. John Foran; a sister, Grace Szalinski; and 16 grandchildren. He died in Lake Forest, Illinois, on August 6, 2000, surrounded by his family.