HOBO Films, the original content development arm of HOBO Audio, is launching the six-part podcast The Trial of Jeff David. The new series is a dramatic retelling of the incredible true story of Jeff David, a freed slave in post-Civil War South Carolina. The podcast is now available for listening at kweli.tv. Audiences can also sample Episode One for free on Soundcloud.
The scene is Abbeville South Carolina; Christmas, 1877. George and Drusilla Franklin, brother and sister, are murdered in their home. Their former slave, Jeff David, who worked for them and reported the murder, is arrested and charged with the crime.
Jeff is quickly convicted and his lawyer, WC Benet, is prepared to walk away from the case. But a chance encounter with a witness who had testified against Jeff in an attempt to collect reward money changes everything. Sensing that all is not right, WC Benet, pursues the case for years without compensation. After five trials and multiple convictions, including one in which Jeff was forced to stand in the gallows with a noose around his neck, the conviction is finally overturned and Jeff’s historic acquittal is complete.
The Trial of Jeff David stars Akintola Jiboyewa (Gotham, Person of Interest) as Jeff, Nick Calhoun (Boardwalk Empire) as WC Benet and Darik Bernard (Power, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) as Judge Mackey. The podcast was written by Howard Bowler and produced for HOBO Films by Tiffany Jackman. Jackman and Bernard are also the series rewriters.
“It should have been a quick trial followed by a hanging but that didn’t happen and why it didn’t happen is at the heart of this story,” said Bowler. “How the lawyer WC Benet pursued this case through all its twists and turns is fascinating. The characters existed, the case is in the public record and the story is as relevant today as ever. We’re honored to be able to tell what happened and bring this story to life.”
The Trial of Jeff David follows HOBO Films’ release earlier this year of The System, a dramatic series about the real world effects of the drug war on one New Jersey middle class family. The System streams on kweli.tv, a new platform celebrating black stories from around the world by curating content that is a true reflection of the global black experience.
Both The Trial of Jeff David and The System of part of an ambitious slate of multi-platform productions now in development from HOBO Films. Through interconnected stories and characters, these productions originate in pre-Civil War Abbeville, with a related narrative arc leading up to the present day.