Defense attorney Bernard Segal, 1979
Bernard "Bernie" Segal was, in 1970, a middle-aged family man and well-established attorney. Originally, from Philadelphia, his education consisted of a B.S. from Temple University; an M.A., and J.D., from the University of Pennsylvania. He was a boisterous man and he and MacDonald appeared perfectly matched; they both believed in using the media to criticize the army's handling of the investigation into the murders.
Segal had a wild appearance for the times in North Carolina. His mange of brushed-out
curly hair was long and usually unkempt which did not seem to bother him. Perhaps in his
mind, it was a sign of character.
Joe McGinniss describes Segal's closing argument, "Like a runaway truck on a steep, icy hill, careened wildly out of control." He was right and no one could use better words to describe it. Segal was full of rage and anger at everyone who ever stood in his or MacDonald's way and
now it was his time to let them know that, and he let no one down. He started by telling the
jury in detail why the government was wrong. He covered how the crime scene was
compromised by incompetent MPs, of the CID crime laboratory errors in their conclusions
on blood evidence, fingerprints and how the FBI distorted their analysis of the defendant's
pajama top and the analysis of the material, threads and fibers evidence. He was giving
the jury a lesson on presumed innocence. He spent three hours to harangue the jury
attacking the government and anyone else who disagreed with him. His anger was
unabated. It never stopped. It was as if he had saved up almost ten years of pent-up
frustrations that he was now unleashing on the unsuspecting jury.
Being in that court room and hearing Segal's anger is something I will never forget.