Aaaaannnnd the #J20 trials are over. Government has dismissed charges against remaining 38 defendants. After charging more than 200 people with felonies, they got one single felony guilty plea. Pretty epic failure!
After "an 18-month nightmare," @MAWebermann tells me it's "hard not to feel cynical about the enormous amount of power that prosecutors have to overcharge people, disrupt their lives, and then drop cases before having to face any consequences in court." huffingtonpost.com/entry/j20-trum…
#BREAKING: Federal prosecutors just filed notice that they are dismissing charges against 38 Trump inauguration protest defendants who had been facing decades in prison after being mass-arrested at #J20 protests. Report coming soon.
Our new report breaks down today's #J20 legal news, which likely represents a decisive end to the troubled case in which federal prosecutors had been fighting tooth & nail to convict anti-Trump protesters based on a wide-reaching conspiracy theory unicornriot.ninja/2018/us-attorn…
We've been doing our best to cover the #J20 case since the events of January 20, when hundreds of people took to the streets of DC for a militant street march demanding "No Peaceful Transition" for the new Trump administration: unicornriot.ninja/2017/no-peacef…
DC Superior Court is resuming session for the day shortly. On the 3rd floor around 9:30 AM, Chief Judge Robert Morin will be ruling on pre-trial matters for two upcoming Trump inauguration protest trial groups.
Judge Morin has suggested he may forbid the govt from continuing to use an undercover Project Veritas video of a protest planning meeting. New filings from the defense last night claim dozens of more Project Veritas videos were hidden from defense by US Attorneys #J20#J20trials
Anyway about that LRT: if you have ever thought "we should protest" about anything in Trump's America you really need to be paying attention to the #j20 trials, in which people are being charged with felonies for having been in Facebook chats about the inaugural protests.
Obviously that's a simplification but it's the meat of it. People are being charged as felony conspirators *even though the government admits they committed no direct crimes*
Within a block of a smashed window? That's a felony trial.
Wearing a bandanna? Carrying a medkit for tear gas? Friends with someone more radical than you?
It's wholly possible that the government will use doctored Project Veritas videos in your shiny felony conspiracy trial!
Court has resumed in the second #J20 Trump inauguration protest trial being overseen by Judge Kimberley Knowles. So far, jurors haven’t come into the courtroom yet, as Knowles has heard arguments over defense requests for a mistrial and motions for judgement of acquittal
The defense early this morning renewed their request for a mistrial. Counsel stated they had received partial information in response to their subpoena to ‘Matt’ from Project Veritas but they don’t have time to properly research this information to inform their arguments at trial
Yesterday, attorneys for each defendant had argued to Judge Knowles as to why all charges should be dismissed. Today, under her obligation to view evidence “in the light most favorable to the govt,” Judge Knowles allowed all but a few of the charges to remain. #J20#J20trial
The first witness to testify today was Laurel Hassberger, a forensic technician who recovered several objects from the scene of the mass arrest at 12th & L on #J20. Assistant US Attorney Qureshi did a “show and tell” type presentation of several recovered objects to the jury.
This portion of testimony was basically identical to Hassberger’s appearance in the first trial. The prosecution dramatically presented several objects such as hammers, goggles, & crowbars. When cross examined, Hassberger admitted she pulled no fingerprints or DNA from the items
Jurors in the 2nd #J20 trial just finished hearing from Officer Ashley Anderson, who was working in a DC Police “civil disturbance” mountain bike unit during Trump inauguration protests. The defense finished their cross-examination which began yesterday afternoon. #J20Trials
Officer Anderson was asked by defense counsel to clarify what she meant by her testimony that protesters were “throwing explosives”...she admitted this comment referred to fireworks.
A similar lawsuit was filed by the same attorney, Jeffrey Light, on January 20th immediately after the mass arrest, but was later withdrawn on procedural grounds. unicornriot.ninja/2018/dc-police… Now, many #J20 defendants with their charges dismissed could potentially join on to the suit
Court in first of #J20trials now on short break. Prosecution continues to call witnesses today, all cops so far. Jury has now heard from arresting officers for each defendant. No arresting officers' testimony appeared to include particularized probable cause for those arrested.
Testimony of each arresting officer basically went "I was told to show up and arrested them, i showed up and arrested them. Yes these items shown by prosecutor are their property." (Very loose paraphrasing here)
Assistant attorney Kerkhoff from @USAO_DC had each arresting officer confirm personal property of defendants (bandanas, backpacks, medic kits, etc). However, upon cross-examination by defense, several officers testified they did not recover items themselves, & dont know who did.
Right now, in DC, the trial is going for the #j20 protesters and journalists arrested during protests of Trump’s inauguration. If convicted, they face decades in jail #DefendJ20
To convict these protesters and journalists, prosecution is using video taken by the right wing sham media outfit Project Veritas, who have repeatedly had to pay out settlements for their false, misleadingly edited hit jobs.
During the inauguration protests, police kettled 200+ people, arrested them, then charged them all with conspiracy to break the same window. These types of charges are reminiscent of those used by Egyptian dictator Sisi to imprison dissidents