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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.

#J20 #J20trials
Last week, Chief Judge Morin ruled that prosecutors @USAO_DC violated the ‘Brady Rule’ by withholding evidence helpful to the defense. Today he will decide how to ‘sanction’ the prosecution.… #J20 #J20trials
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
In Judge Knowles’ court a floor down from Chief Judge Morin, 2nd #J20 trial continues at 10:30 as closing arguments begin. Govt expected to try to convince jurors of alleged ID of 3/4 current defendants as involved in destruction, based on contested correlations of grainy videos
#BREAKING: US Attorney announces they are dismissing several #J20 cases entirely, including all of the June 4 trial group

US Attorney has also dropped all charges against one May 29 trial group defendant, and is dropping all felony charges against other May 29 defendants, still seek to proceed to trial on misdemeanor charges
#J20 #J20trial
Govt has asked Judge Morin to dismiss these #J20 cases without prejudice. Defense seeks to have charges dismissed *with prejudice.* Judge Morin gives Assistant Attorney Ahmed Basset a ten minute break to consult with his higher-ups at @USAO_DC
#J20 #J20trials
The govt’s reluctance to have cases dismissed with prejudice (vs without) suggests they are seeking to keep the door open to re-file charges later.
#J20 #J20trials
.@USAO_DC stated clearly that their motivation for dismissing these #J20 cases was due to evidence violations surrounding the use of Project Veritas videos. Assistant US Attorney Basset complained issues with Project Veritas were “a distraction from the conduct of the defendants”
Court is resuming now in Judge Morin’s court. Will provide more notes as we are able. Thanks to all our donors who make continuing this work possible:…
Chief Judge Morin is not heating arguments over whether some #J20 cases are dismissed with or without prejudice. @USAO_DC wants the ability to re-file charges in case they get new evidence
The defense has asserted that several new Brady violations took place. An email from @USAO_DC to the court on May 30 admitted the existence of an additional *69* Project Veritas recordings in their possession that hasn’t been shared with the defense.
#J20 #j20Trials
The defense assets that based on repeated Brady violations by the prosecution, the only way to provide relief to the defendants is to dismiss charges with prejudice, so prosecutors can’t re-file new charges against the same people later.
#J20 #J20trials
Assistant US Attorney Ahmed Basset is now claiming that @USAO_DC withheld Project Veritas videos from the defense out of concern for the privacy of people recorded by Project Veritas

#J20 #J20trials
DC Superior Court Chief Judge Morin just called out @USAO_DC for personally lying to him about evidence.

Morin: “Can you explain your office’s representations to this court that there was only one video provided to Detective Pemberton by Project Veritas?”

#J20 #J20trials
Assistant US Attorney Ahmed Basset replied, “I can’t speak to that at this moment.”

Judge Morin repeated: “Your office represented that was the only video turned over to Detective Pemberton.”

#J20 #J20trials
Judge Morin stated that his official finding was that 1. Govt represented to him that only one relevant Project Veritas video existed and 2. In fact, many other relevant Project Veritas videos existed.

“The govt made intentional decisions not to disclose”
#J20 #J20trials
For the #J20 defendants who US Attorney dismisses charges against, Judge Morin ruled to dismiss the conspiracy charges *with prejudice*, and to not allow the government to proceed on a Pinkerton liability theory.
However, on the remaining non-conspiracy counts, Judge Morin ruled to dismiss without prejudice, meaning that these charges could potentially be re-filed.

#J20 #J20trials
The 3 defendants still facing charges from the scheduled May 29 trial group will now go to trial on Monday. Since all felony charges against them were dismissed, they only face a misdemeanor trial and will be tried in front of a Judge alone, with no jury.

#J20 #J20trial
At 10:55 AM Assistant US Attorney Rizwan Qureshi made the government’s closing arguments in the 2nd #J20 trial, which still seems to be proceeding despite dramatic evidence violations by the prosecution. The govt’s closing argument ended a few mins ago.
Most of Assistant US Attorney Qureshi’s closing arguments were word for word the same as in his failed arguments in the first trial. He told jurors that defendants “agreed on January 20 to destroy your city.” Qureshi used the phrase “sea of black” at least 10 times in his closing
Assistant US Attorney Qureshi: “Now that the masks don’t work...[the defendants are] gonna hide behind the First Amendment.” He then walked jurors through maps & video of anti-capitalist march on Inauguration Day, pausing to give dramatic emphasis on instances of property damage
Assistant US Attorney Qureshi devotes different portions of his closing to claiming to have identified 3/4 of the defendants as involved in property destruction, based on clothing correlations in video (which will be contested by the defense.) #J20 #J20trial
No witnesses called by the prosecution were allowed to, or able to, identify any defendant as responsible for any alleged crimes. The case essentially comes down to correlations made by Detective Pemberton making correlations watching videos in his office.
#J20 #J20trials
One of the four defendants, Cathseigh Webber, isn’t even accused of any property damage. Prosecutor Qureshi claimed that by showing up at the march and wearing black, he acted as part of a “getaway car” for ppl who broke windows (Qureshi also used the same line in 1st trial)
Assistant US Attorney Qureshi asked jurors to “focus on the victims in this case” by which he meant the managers of businesses, such as Starbucks, that sustained damage during protests against Trump’s presidential inauguration.
#J20 #J20trials
Qureshi ended his closing arguments on behalf of @USAO_DC by playing the 911 call made by a Starbucks manager as he somberly chanted the defendants’ names one by one. “Don’t let these defendants hijack the 1st Amendment. They are all guilty.”
#J20 #J20trials
1st defense lawyer to make her closing arguments was April Downs, representing defendant Cathseigh Webber. Donna reiterated how Webber isn’t even accused of any destructive acts but is charged based on his presence, wearing black, & his presence in an IWW Facebook messenger group
Downs repeatedly asked jurors “Why is he here?” (referring to her client Cathseigh Webber.) She asserted that the government decided to continue charging Mr. Webber “because of an association” with “this leftist group” the government finds “concerning”
#J20 #J20trials
After Ms. Downs (representing Cathseigh Webber) finished her closing arguments, Judge Knowles declared a lunch break. Closing arguments in the 2nd #J20 trial will resume around 2:15 PM eastern time.

Courtroom in 2nd #J20 trial has been packed to capacity today, forcing the court to make an overflow room available. Personnel w/ “DC Court of Appeals” lanyards have also been seen in attendance (it’s assumed any convictions in this trial will be appealed due to Brady violations)
Defense counsel in the second #J20 trial just finished all their closing arguments. Assistant US Attorney Kerkhoff will make her final rebuttal argument to the jury shortly after this brief court recess ends in about five mins. #J20trials
Mr. Schraeder, Attorney for #J20 defendant Seth Cadman, mocked Assistant US Attorney Qureshi’s comment that protesters “agreed to destroy your city”:
“It’s not Godzilla destroying Tokyo.”

He called police actions on #J20 a “mass political arrest” based on “collective guilt”
Schraeder also mocked government assertions that the defendants had clearly “gotten the memo” by showing up in black:
“There is no memo. What exhibit number is the memo?”
#J20 #J20trials
Kerkhoff is doing her rebuttal momentarily, will tweet more complete notes here later as we are able. Thanks again to all or supporters who enable us to send reporters into the field (or the courtroom in this case) to cover important issues:…
Court has ended for the day in the second #J20 trial. Jurors will begin deliberations at 9:30 AM tomorrow morning. It’s worth noting Juror #5 was asleep pretty consistently throughout closing arguments. We saw her go a period of 18 minutes without opening her eyes once
We will now return to our notes where they left off before, during defense closing arguments

#J20 #J20trials
Mr. Schraeder, counsel for defendant Seth Camden, focused heavily on the fact that Detective Pemberton has “basically played God in this case” while also having a clear loyalty to protecting the police officers involved in #J20, since he is their elected police union rep.
Schraeder also pointed out the lack of “the thoroughness you would expect in a normal police investigation” in MPD’s evidence collection practices after the mass arrest of #J20 protesters
Schraeder also pointed out how his client, Seth Cadman, was charged with conspiracy despite no proven communication between Cadman and anyone else.
“There can’t be a conspiracy without an agreement...there can’t be agreement without some form of communication”

#J20 #J20trials
There was “no attempt, really, to give an identification...there’s no forensic evidence...all we have is blurry pictures of someone who is dressed similar to everyone else” - Attorney Schraeder, representing Seth Cadman

#J20 #J20trials
Next was Mr. Rist, defense attorney representing #J20 defendant Anthony Felice. Rist emphasized there was “not a single live witness” to identify Felice as tied to any alleged crimes & that MPD did a “terrible job” collecting physical evidence after mass arresting protesters
Rist also pointed out that clothing and items reportedly used to identify Mr. Felice as allegedly involved in trying to break a window (motorcycle helmet, mask, backpack, water bottle, gloves) were NOT kept as evidence and weren’t analyzed for fingerprints or DNA

#J20 #J20trials
Rist pulled up video of Anthony Felice’s arrest, showing Felice was wearing fingerless gloves. He pointed out that this meant that if the motorcycle helmet actually was tied to Mr. Felice, his fingerprints would be on it. Yet, no prints were pulled from helmet

#J20 #J20trials
The prosecution has repeatedly claimed that Anthony Felice was positively identified because of the motorcycle helmet. However, in his closing, Rist showed other motorcycle helmets that could be seen throughout the march, casting doubt on the govt’s claims.
#J20 #J20trials
Rist accuses Kerkhoff and @USAO_DC of “playing fast and loose with the facts” and compared police actions on #J20 to “a fox being driven by hounds towards the hunters.”
#J20 #J20trials
Rist apointed out that Anthony Felice was charged w resisting arrest, despite his arrest, caught on video, being very violent (police repeatedly threw him to the ground while macing him point blank in the face & calling him “bitch”) & Felice isn’t seen resisting during his arrest
“The government wants you to ignore all the gaping holes in their case...they want you to take that leap & just believe...There’s no evidence...there’s a year & a half of speculative guesswork”
-Mr. Rist, defense counsel for #J20 defendant Anthony Felice, to jury in 2nd #J20trial
Next up was Billy Jacobson, defense counsel for #J20 defendant Michael Basillas. He told jurors that “The government has proved Michael Basillas was at the protest...and that’s all they have proved.”
Jacobson cast doubt on Detective Pemberton’s work on the #J20 case. He said Pemberton “scoured the earth” for potentially relevant videos but “didn’t seem curious” about details regarding files provided by Project Veritas: “suddenly he wasn’t interested in finding all the videos”
Mr. Rist also pointed out the apparent lack of conclusive evidence against his client, Michael Basillas. Since no witness actually ID’d Basillas, “Argument from [Assistant US Attorney] the closest we have to evidence.”
#J20 #J20trials
Rist asked jurors to “distinguish between facts and argument” when deliberating their verdict. He then moved on to addressing different clothing & items the govt claimed was the basis for identifying Michael Basillas as involved in certain acts.
#J20 #J20trials
The main component by which the #J20 prosecution claims to have correlated Basillas’ identity from videos is a hoodie with a silver or white zipper. The defense showed jurors arrest photos of 10 other protesters which the same zippers on their identical hoodies

#J20 #J20trials
The prosecutor has also claimed they can prove Michael Basillas is seen in certain videos based on metal tips at the end of hoodie strings. But, some alleged pictures of Basillas don’t even have these strings in them.

#J20 #J20trials
Defense also showed 3 other arrestees with glasses highly similar to the glasses the prosecution claims to have used to ID Basillas. The defense showed a picture of another person in the crowd who they claimed was actually the person in the pictures the govt claims show Basillas
After going over many other details (such as Basillas’ bright yellow hair not being seen in the photos),Jacobson ended his closing arguments after telling jurors,
“The government hasn’t come close to proving beyond a reasonable doubt that Michael Basillas is guilty of anything”
After the defense finished closing arguments on behalf of each defendant, Assistant US Attorney Jennifer Kerkhoff, the lead prosecutor in the #J20 case, made her rebuttal arguments. Her rebuttal was mostly identical to her rebuttal in the first trial last year.

Just like in the first #J20 trial, Kerkoff began her rebuttal by saying nothing as she played audio of windows being broken. When the recording ended she said “That is the sound of a riot...each of these defendants made the choice to participate in this riot”

Kerkhoff also repeated her statements from her rebuttal in the first trial where she claimed that protesters showed “privilege and entitlement” by expecting police to issue dispersal warnings (as DC policies require.)

#J20 #J20trials
This quote seen here is from Kerkhoff’s rebuttal in the first #J20 trial last year. Her comments today weren’t exactly the same but were highly similar

Kerkhoff’s rebuttal today also cast doubt on defense interpretation of the legal concept of “beyond a reasonable doubt”, echoing her rebuttal last year at the 1st #J20 trial. She stopped short this time of saying reasonable doubt “doesn’t mean a whole lot” like she did last year.
Assistant US Attorney Kerkhoff ended her rebuttal arguments at about 4:40 PM today. The jury starts deliberating tomorrow at 9:30 AM.

#J20 #J20trials
Before Judge Knowles dismissed court for the day (but after jurors had left) she read a note from a juror. The juror said she had seen “Google jury nullification” written in a bathroom stall & that she had Googled jury nullification & told other jurors about it.

#J20 #J20trials
Judge Knowles asked both the prosecution & the defense how they would like to respond to the juror’s note and neither seemed concerned. Judge Knowles said she will just tell the juror “thank you for your note” & to continue deliberations.
#J20 #J20trials
We will have a more full report out on recent #J20trials developments as soon as we are able (likely tonight or tomorrow.) Unicorn Riot depends entirely on support from our audience to continue operating & we never put ads or paywalls on any of our content…
Correction re: defense attorney names in 5/31/18 #J20trials live tweet court reporting thread
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