Abbie Hoffman was a leader of the Youth International Party. At trial, Hoffman described himself as "an orphan of America" and "a child of Woodstock Nation." He was, perhaps, the most intriguing figure in Judge Hoffman's courtroom. Hoffman believed that identity is defined by myth propagated through the media.
Hoffman was born in Worcester, Massachusetts on November 30, 1936. He graduated from Brandeis in 1959, then picked up a master's degree at Berkeley. In the early 1960's, he returned to Worcester to work as a psychologist in a state hospital. His career in political activism began with his work for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the South. Hoffman was still relatively straight until 1966 when he turned onto drugs and began the loosely organized Yippie movement.
Hoffman went underwent plastic surgery and assumed the underground alias of "Barry Freed" in 1974 to avoid trial on charges of possessing cocaine. He stayed underground in upper New York state until 1980, when he surrendered to authorities. He was sentenced to a work-release program in 1981-82, then resumed his life of political activism. In 1987, Hoffman was arrested for the forty-second time while protesting CIA recruitment at the University of Massachusetts with Amy Carter and thirteen others.
At a 1988 reunion of the Chicago Seven, Hoffman described himself as "an American dissident. I don't think my goals have changed since I was four and I fought schoolyard bullies."
On April 12, 1989, Hoffman was found dead at his home in New Hope, Pennsylvania. The death was later ruled a suicide.