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Smiling draft resister shakes hands with jury following conviction

By
BETTY STEIN

BOSTON -- A Wellesley man smiled and shook hands with jury members who took only 10 minutes to find him guilty of refusing to register with the Selective Service -- the sixth such conviction in the nation.

'It's what I expected to happen,' Edward J. Hasbrouck, 22, said Wednesday following the verdict reached by a U.S. District Court jury of seven men and five women.

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'But I don't think my conviction or the conviction of a token few non-registrants can really affect the millions who are resisting the Selective Service law.'

Three supporters were arrested in a protest after the verdict was announced.

Hasbrouck faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Judge David Nelson set sentencing for Jan. 14 and allowed him to remain free on bail.

Hasbrouck, acting as his own attorney, called the proceedings 'ridiculous' and called no defense witnesses.

'I feel no obligation to justify my conscientious objector status,' he said.

Prosecuting attorney Robert Mueller said Hasbrouck's failure to register -- not the fairness of the Selective Service law -- was the only issue at hand. Hasbrouck disagreed.

'The issues that Mueller says are not relevant are precisely the relevant issues,' he said. 'The issues which are before the public are not whether the draft is legal but whether it is right.'

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Jurors took 10 minutes to reach a verdict after only 25 minutes of testimony.

After the verdict was announced, a smiling Hasbrouck shook hands with the jurors as they left the courtroom then informed the court he would appeal.

The government has indicted 14 of the more than 500,000 men who failed to register with the Selective Service. Six -- including Hasbrouck - have been convicted, one case was dismissed and another put off indefinitely.

'Because only such a token few can be prosecuted, the draft is now unfeasible,' Hasbrouck told a news conference in a courthouse lobby.

Federal marshals arrested three of Hasbrouck's backers who chained themselves to a door leading from the courthouse. A spokesman for demonstrators said they were 'symbolically arresting the court system.'

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