‘Manhunt’ Episode 7 Recap And Ending Explained: What Is The Final Verdict Of The Trial?

Manhunt by Apple TV+ finally reaches a bittersweet conclusion. In the previous episode, Stanton’s Union servicemen finally caught up to Booth and Herold, who were hiding in a barn near Richmond, Virginia. The Union Cavalry arrived at the scene, leading to Booth getting shot at the hands of Sergeant Corbett. In a manner similar to Lincoln, Booth too was shot in the back of his head. Stanton orders his men to have Booth’s body buried where nobody can find him and make him a martyr. 


Now that the President’s assassin is executed, Stanton and his men proceed to arrange a case against the Confederates, through which he wishes to accuse Jefferson Davis of conspiracy against the President. Stanton and his men call it the ‘grand conspiracy’ but also feel that this plan is far-fetched. Regardless, with President Johnson’s approval, they made a case and gathered enough witnesses to testify against the people involved in Lincoln’s assassination. As a result of this approval, the Union servicemen finally captured Davis. 

Spoilers Ahead


What Happens During The Trial?

In the previous episode, we saw the only instance of President Johnson’s contribution to the cause when he advised Stanton and Holt that for a case as ambitious as the grand conspiracy, they would need equally solid evidence and witnesses to win. Johnson was right, though, which is why Stanton and his men have sought help from anyone who can testify against the accused. Given the sensitive and high-profile nature of the case, Stanton and Holt have decided to forgo a standard civil trial with a jury panel. Instead, they have opted to hold a military tribunal to try the accused. The individuals accused in this case are Samuel Mudd, Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, Edward Spangler, George Atzerodt, and David Herold. Additionally, Jefferson Davis, John Surratt Jr., and George Sanders are also involved, though only Davis has been arrested so far. Quite obviously, the defense also tries its best to undermine the witness’ credibility to strengthen its own case. The defendants had paid a Black Man to testify as a character witness for Samuel Mudd who was instructed to slander Mary’s reputation as being unreliable. 

Why Does Mary Convince Miles To Testify As Well?

Holt had already anticipated that the defense would target Mary Surratt in an effort to gain an advantage in the case. As a result, he and Stanton had been preparing Mary in advance for the trial. However, upon witnessing how Mary was slandered on the first day of the proceedings, she became concerned that they might need additional testimony to counter Mudd. To that end, Mary decides to have her brother, Miles, testify at the trial. Miles, being a Black man, is worried that Confederate sympathizers might harm him for speaking out against a White man. Nevertheless, at Stanton’s request, Miles ultimately agrees to testify. In the courtroom, Miles recounts the story of how he was crippled after being shot by Samuel Mudd for no apparent reason, bringing Mudd’s cruelty to light. 


Why Does Mary Convince Weichmann To Speak Out?

Despite Miles backing her claims against Mudd, she knew it wouldn’t be enough to win them the case against the defendants. Mary had been a witness to a lot of Confederate activities at Mudd’s, but with she being a Black woman, it was very easy for the defendants to turn the case around. Concerned, she approaches Louis Weichmann to testify. Mary believes that Weichmann, being a White man, would be a strong witness against not just Mudd but the Surrats as well. Moreover, knowing how close he was to the defendants, Mary knew that Weichmann would be able to verify her claims during the trial. 

During the trial, Mary recounts all the instances when Mudd actively aided the Confederate war effort by helping the soldiers and even housing Surrat on multiple occasions whenever he traveled from Richmond to Montreal. As expected, the defendant’s lawyer tries to prove her unreliable by calling her uneducated and saying that she doesn’t understand what she is talking about. However, Mary asks the court to bring forth Weichmann to verify her claims, and he abides by her request. Weichmann turns out to be a key witness to the trial. He points out Mudd’s direct involvement in the conspiracy amongst all the defendants, as he was close to John Surrat Jr. 


What Is The Final Verdict Of The Trial?

Stanton’s last witness, Conover, was quite important to the trial and could’ve won Stanton’s case a decisive victory. But as it turns out, he had already been paid by Sanders to jeopardize the case from his end. As a result, he deliberately makes it seem like he has committed perjury. As the trial of the century comes to an end, the defendants and the prosecutors await the final verdict. At the last session of the court, the judge announces that the panel does believe that Jefferson Davis was indeed instrumental in Lincoln, but because of enough evidence, they weren’t able to reach a final verdict. As for the defendants in the courtroom, all of them were found guilty. Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, Herold, and George Atzerodt are sentenced to death by hanging, while George Spangler is sentenced to six years of imprisonment. As for Samuel Mudd, he is sentenced to life imprisonment and hard labor. 

What Happened To Stanton?

Soon after the trial had reached its conclusion, at a gathering to celebrate their victory, Johnson arrived to inform Stanton that he was replacing him with General Lorenzo Thomas as the Secretary of War. Johnson never liked Stanton, but more than that, he disliked the fact that Stanton refused to remove his troops from the Southern States. Johnson never really understood that the reconstruction plan was the whole point of the war and that stopping the reconstruction project would result in the Civil War becoming futile.


Stanton accepts defeat and takes Lorenzo along to show him the office of the Department of War, but then he remembers a conversation with Lincoln when he talked about how reconstruction had always been his and Lincoln’s top priority. Giving up on the reconstruction will make his efforts futile. Hence, he distracts Lorenzo and proceeds to lock himself in the office of the Department of War. It turns out that Stanton barricaded himself in the office for nearly three months during President Johnson’s impeachment trial for trying to fire him. During these three months, Stanton continued to act as the Secretary of War. Even though Johnson was not impeached by one vote, he lost the election for a second term, as nobody really liked him for what he did to Stanton. Regardless, slavery was finally abolished in the United States of America, five months after the trial, with the ratification of Article 13, and it was only because of the efforts of the likes of Lincoln and Stanton. 

Four years after the assassination of Lincoln and after a long battle against Johnson’s efforts to jeopardize Stanton’s efforts to keep the reconstruction going, he was finally nominated as a justice of the Supreme Court. By now, Stanton’s health had deteriorated a lot, and soon after he received the news of his nomination, he succumbed to his illness and passed away. 


Stanton’s end was a poignant one, as he sacrificed not just his reputation but also his health just to hold back Johnson and the remnants of the Confederates who wanted to undo what Lincoln stood for. Even when, in the end, he receives recognition and power for his efforts, he falls prey to his sickness. 

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Shrey Ashley Philip
Shrey Ashley Philip
A teacher, photographer, linguist, and songwriter, Shrey started out as a Biotechnology graduate, but shifted to studying Japanese. Now he talks about movies, advocates for ADHD awareness, and embraces Albert Camus.

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