Washington, DC – Today eight more cases were dropped in the felony dragnet prosecution of protesters mass-arrested during President Trump’s inauguration on January 20th, 2017. Legal motions filed by prosecutors on Wednesday, June 13th, sought to dismiss cases against six defendants who had been scheduled to go to trial on June 25th, as well as two other defendants who would have also faced trial later this year.
DC Superior Court Chief Judge Robert Morin then signed an order to officially drop the charges against the eight defendants:
The first Trump inauguration protest trial ended in full acquittals late last year after jurors declined to convict six defendants based on their “mere presence” at the protest. The second ‘J20’ trial ended last week in a mixture of acquittals and mistrials due to a deadlocked jury. Prosecutors claimed to have identified several defendants as personally involved in property destruction, but the evidence presented based on video analysis by DC Police Detective Greggory Pemberton did not appear strong enough to convince a jury of any identification beyond a reasonable doubt.
On the morning of Trump’s inauguration, DC police surrounded the “anti-capitalist, antifascist” march at 12th & L streets and arrested the entire group of over 200 people. Federal prosecutors then began pursuing an aggressive conspiracy case, arguing that everyone present at the protest was legally liable for all acts of property damage committed by a few individuals at the event. The US Attorney was recently forced to drastically reduce their case after Chief Judge Morin ruled prosecutors had committed a ‘Brady’ violation by hiding video evidence provided to the government by the far-right “entrapment” media group Project Veritas.
Thirty-six people still face multiple felony charges, with sentences of up to sixty years in prison, based on an indictment filed by federal prosecutors in the wake of the mass arrest on inauguration day. A detailed summary of the second trial released by the National Lawyers Guild points out that the prosecution can refile any charges that were dismissed without prejudice on or before July 11th.
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J20 Trial Coverage & More:
- Criminalizing Dissent: Trials Begin for Trump Inauguration J20 Protests - November 29, 2017
- Criminalizing Dissent: Contested Evidence Introduced in J20 Trial Testimony - November 29, 2017
- Police Commander Behind J20 Arrests Joked About Holocaust, LGBTs - December 3, 2017
- Criminalizing Dissent: Trump Inauguration Protest Trial Enters Fourth Week - December 9, 2017
- Criminalizing Dissent: After Proving “Mere Presence” J20 Prosecution Rests Case - December 13, 2017
- Jury Finds Six #J20 Defendants “Not Guilty” on All Charges - December 21, 2017
- Interview: 188 Still Face Decades In Prison For Trump Inauguration Protest - January 13, 2018
- DC Mayor, Police Refuse to Release Financial Records of Trump Inauguration Investigation - January 17, 2018
- US Attorney Drops 129 Trump Inauguration Protest Cases, 59 Still Face Decades In Prison - January 18, 2018
- Second Trump Inauguration Protest Trial Begins - May 16, 2018
- Prosecutors Illegally Withheld Evidence From Trump Inauguration Protesters, Judge Finds - May 23, 2018
- Second J20 Trial Heads To Jury Despite Court Sanctions Against Prosecutors - June 1, 2018
- More Trump Inauguration Protest Arrestees Have Charges Dismissed - June 4, 2018
- Another Trump Inauguration Protester Acquitted at Trial - June 6, 2018
- Second Trump Inauguration Protest Trial Ends In Acquittals/Mistrials - June 7, 2018
- Federal Prosecutors Drop Eight More Trump Inauguration Protest Cases - June 13, 2018
DC J20 Protest Coverage:
- FERC Protest, Evict the DNC, & Disrupt the DeploraBall on the Eve of Trump’s Inauguration - January 23, 2017
- “No Peaceful Transition” for Trump as Thousands #DisruptJ20 in Washington, D.C. on Inauguration Day - January 27, 2017
- 214 Indicted on Felony Riot Charges for Protesting Trump Inauguration - March 15, 2017
- Anti-Racist Coalition Rallies Against Fascism and State Repression at DC Police HQ - June 25, 2017
- Protesters Face 80 Years as US Attorney Brings Unprecedented Mass Felony Charges (Includes Interview with Olivia, a Defendant) - June 29, 2017
- J20 Defendant Dane Powell Sentenced to Four Months in Federal Prison - July 7, 2017
- J20 Indictment Challenged in Motions Hearing; One Count Dismissed - July 28, 2017