The first six people of approximately two hundred arrested for rioting on inauguration day faced a jury this past week. We noted in a recent post:

The jury found them not guilty on all charges. I’m beginning to think you can get away with pretty much anything in this country if you have leftist politics.

Zoe Tilliman reports at BuzzFeed:

Inauguration Protesters Found Not Guilty On All Charges In Jury Trial

A jury on Thursday found six defendants not guilty on all charges they were facing in connection with Inauguration Day protests in Washington, DC.

This was the first trial for the nearly 200 defendants still facing charges in connection with anti-Trump demonstrations on Jan. 20 that turned violent.

The verdict is a victory not only for the six defendants and their lawyers, but for other defense attorneys, anti-Trump activists, and free speech advocates who had criticized the mass arrests and prosecution as examples of government overreach and who worried the case signaled a new era of criminalizing political dissent.

“The jury thoughtfully distinguished First Amendment rights from criminal conduct,” Steven McCool, one of the defense lawyers, told BuzzFeed News in an email. “They vindicated the constitutional rights of these defendants and all of us.

Asked about the verdict, one of the defendants, Alexei Wood, told BuzzFeed News in a text message: “Fuk them so hard.”

More trials for other defendants are scheduled throughout 2018. A question going forward will be if the acquittal prompts the government to drop any cases or charges or if prosecutors will press ahead as planned. In a statement, however, the US Attorney’s Office suggested it planned to move forward with the remaining pending charges against other defendants.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia believes that the evidence shows that a riot occurred on January 20, 2017, during which numerous public and private properties were damaged or destroyed. This destruction impacted many who live and work in the District of Columbia, and created a danger for all who were nearby,” per the statement. “The criminal justice process ensures that every defendant is judged based on his or her personal conduct and intent. We appreciate the jury’s close examination of the individual conduct and intent of each defendant during this trial and respect its verdict. In the remaining pending cases, we look forward to the same rigorous review for each defendant.”

Here’s a video report from Ruptly TV:

Do you notice hw everyone involved is suddenly celebrating the importance of free speech? Funny how that becomes sacred again when leftists are cleared for rioting and destroying property. Conservatives speaking on college campuses? Not so much.

Vice News has more:

Outside the courtroom Thursday, defendants and their attorneys celebrated.

“I think it means a lot for free speech,” said Jamie Heine, attorney for Macchio. “We are over-the-moon thrilled with the results.”

A lawyer for another defendant said he’s pleased the jury recognized the difference between legal protest and illegal activity. “I think that it shows that when you’re putting a case like this together you have to make tough decisions and draw lines and decide between those who are engaged in constitutionally protected activity and criminal activity,” said Steven McCool, attorney for Oliver Harris…

Jurors were asked to consider whether an individual was guilty by association if individuals they were with were committing acts of vandalism. Defense attorneys argued that police made arrests indiscriminately that day, and punished those exercising their right to free speech. Prosecutors said that the defendants were trying to use the First Amendment to exonerate themselves from criminal activity.

It’s great to hear so many people care about the First Amendment now. That doesn’t change what happened on inauguration day. This wasn’t a peaceful protest. It was goons in black masks starting fires and engaging in violence and intimidation.

John Sexton of Hot Air is spot on here:

The message of this acquittal is going to be loud and clear to Antifa: Wearing masks is a get out of jail free card. As long as no one can identify who broke which window or who started which fire, you’re safe from all consequences. This was their plan all along. I guarantee you some of these 200 people know exactly who did what. Some of them recognize their friends in those videos, but they are operating as a gang. No one will snitch on their fellow gang members.

Featured image via YouTube.