The second trial of Trump Inauguration protesters arrested during an anti-capitalist, anti-fascist march has ended without a single conviction.
A jury acquitted Seth Cadman of conspiracy to riot, inciting a riot, and several counts of property destruction. The jury deadlocked on the misdemeanor charge of engaging in a riot, causing Judge Knowles to declare a mistrial on that one charge
Today, was yet another day of setbacks for the prosecution,as the government dismissed charges against three more J20 defendants. In another J20 trial, a jury acquitted defendant Cathseigh Webber of all charges after less than two days of deliberations.
While prosecutors were going ahead with closing arguments in one set of J20 trials, one floor above in the same courthouse a judge was issuing sanctions against the government for failing to disclose exculpatory evidence. In a huge blow to prosecutors, conspiracy charges will be dismissed with prejudice against ten defendants and seven defendants had all of their remaining charges dismissed without prejudice.
The prosecution in the J20 case was dealt another major setback today as Chief Justice Robert Morin found that they failed to disclose to the defense parts of an undercover video containing clearly exculpatory evidence. An edited version of the video was part of the prosecution’s case-in-chief during the first J20 trial and was expected to be so in an upcoming trial. Now, with the prosecution facing sanctions, there are questions as to whether they will be allowed to show the video at all.
The US Attorneys Office claims the trial isn’t about protest or dissent, but the crux of their case centers around the argument that a First Amendment protected march is a criminal conspiracy.
If the prosecution can’t in “good conscience, ask another fourteen citizens” to sit through a trial of protesters, there’s a solution. Drop the charges.
DRAD, Joined by Chelsea Manning and Defend J20 Resistance, Delivers Nearly 180,000 Petitions Demanding J20 Charges Be Dropped
A day after the petitions were delivered, we learned that the trial, set to start April 17, had been delayed again.
Prosecution’s Anonymous FBI Expert in J20 Trial is Another Attempt to Demonize Protesters and Journalists
The Department of Justice’s continuing felony prosecutions stemming from an anti-capitalist, anti-fascist protest during Trump’s inauguration has taken yet another bizarre turn. Earlier this month Assistant US Attorney Jennifer Kerkhoff indicated her intent to call as an expert witness, an FBI agent who infiltrated social movements, such as Occupy Wall Street, to opine on “black bloc tactics.” The government has also requested that the witness testify publicly under an alias. They cite as cause for concern about the “safety and security” of the FBI agent the fact that journalists and other observers (including the author of this piece) reported on public testimony during the last trial.
Defending Rights & Dissent was elated by the news that 159 of the J20 defendants had their charges dismissed. Nonetheless, the struggle continues. Fifty-nine people still face multiple felony charges.Defending Rights & Dissent demands that the remaining charges be dropped, that Jennifer Kerkhoff be fired, and that DC police be held accountable for the wanton brutality they engaged in during the inauguration.