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Prosecutors Drop Charges Against 129 Inauguration Day Rioters

Prosecutors Drop Charges Against 129 Inauguration Day Rioters

Proceeding with charges against 59 defendants.

More than 200 people were arrested in Washington, DC last year during violent anti-Trump demonstrations. Innocent people were intimidated, windows were smashed and a limousine was even burned, yet many of those arrested are getting off with next to nothing.

We have been following this story:

Based largely on the outcome of the first round of prosecutions, the government is dropping lots of other charges. Zoe Tilliman reports at BuzzFeed:

Prosecutors Are Dropping Most Of The Cases Against People Arrested On Trump’s Inauguration Day

Federal prosecutors will dismiss cases against 129 people still facing criminal charges in connection with mass arrests on President Donald Trump’s Inauguration Day, according to court papers filed on Thursday.

Cases are pending for 188 defendants following the acquittal of six defendants at the end of the first trial in December. The government explained in its latest court filing that it planned to proceed with charges, including felony counts, against 59 defendants, but would file a motion to dismiss the indictment in the remaining 129 cases.

Assistant US Attorney Jennifer Kerkhoff, the lead prosecutor, wrote that the government had decided to dismiss the majority of the cases “in light of the legal rulings by the court and the jury’s verdicts in the first trial of these cases.”

The US attorney’s office told the court that it would focus its efforts now on defendants who allegedly engaged in “identifiable acts of destruction, violence, or other assaultive conduct,” participated in planning violence and destruction, or who knowingly participated in what’s known as “black bloc” tactics in order to aid violence and destruction.

This does not mean it’s all over. Some defendants still face fines and jail time:

Most of the 188 remaining defendants faced eight charges, including a felony count of inciting a riot, two misdemeanor counts of engaging in a riot and conspiracy to riot, and five felony counts of property destruction. Although the judge during the first trial granted a motion to acquit the defendants of the felony incitement charge at the conclusion of testimony, the government did not say in Thursday’s filing that it planned to drop that charge.

The felony charges carry maximum penalties of 10 years in jail and a $25,000 fine. The misdemeanors have maximum penalties of 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

If you are disappointed that more of these fools have not been held responsible for their actions, all is not lost. John Sexton of Hot Air makes a great point here:

Assuming prosecutors can tie the remaining 59 defendants to specific crimes and actually secure convictions in those cases, this seems like a much better approach. And if you add in the 20 individual who have already pleaded guilty you could wind up with as many as 79 convictions out of 215 people charged. That would be a decent result and should put a dent in future Antifa organizing and rioting in the city.


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notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | January 19, 2018 at 4:39 pm

That’s a good start, Mr. LaChance, that’s a good start.

It is a good start. For even among those whose charges are dropped, in future job applications, especially those requiring any kind of security clearance or background, “Have you ever been arrested?” Answering “yes” forces them to explain. Answering “no” and having the arrest show up on a background check…

And yet when a friend of mine was arrested for kicking in a glass door (Long story, some time ago, and there was booze involved), he was arrested about fifteen minutes later, made bail that night (Yea credit cards), and was in court three days later.

$500 and repaying to have the door replaced.

These idiots are taking a *year* to get to trial on misdemeanor charges? I suspect many of them will pay far more in lawyer’s fees than the fine.

    Arminius in reply to georgfelis. | January 19, 2018 at 10:04 pm

    About ten years ago I was involved in the latest fight in my life. Is it my last fight? I don’t know. He walked into my restaurant and told me he was going to park in my lot and said there was nothing I could do about. I told him I’d have his car towed. He parked in my lot. I had his car towed.

    As was always our tradition I was sitting down for the employee meal. And I had just left left the dishwasher out to throw away the garbage. And he’s all liquored up and demands to know where his car is.

    Thinking as fast I could I tell him to take it outside. The only way out was the front door and there were a lot of tables and chairs he could hit me with. So I go outside with the guy and tell the ladies to lock the door, call the cops, and hold on.

    The funny thing is I choked him out. It didn’t make it into the police report but during the after action interview the cops were xinterested when he sh** himself. I didn’t actually know as I was too busy choking him. But it took a firehose to clean it up.

    When i came to court I let it go with a letter of apology and a promise never to show his face again in my place.

    Milhouse in reply to georgfelis. | January 21, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    Yes, but he actually committed a violent offense. For the people acquitted, and the ones whose charges are now being dropped, the police can’t prove they did so.

Probably right I imagine a lot of bystanders got swept up

As I recall, the charges against the first batch were pretty weak.

Or rather, the charges were serious, but the evidence linking those defendants to the charges was weak.

Prosecution without a decent chance of conviction is just harassment.

What has hurt the prosecution so far is the fact that they overcharged some of these people outrageously. To gain a conviction on a person for felony property damage, you have to be able to prove that they actually engaged in causing the damage. What usually happens in these cases is that a large number of people end up being charged for unlawful assembly or disorderly conduct for not vacating the area when ordered by LE. Some will be charged with property damage based upon identification or other evidence linking them to the damage caused. And, some will be charged with assault, battery and, in a few cases, with inciting to riot.

From my understanding of the cases so far, virtually all would have been convicted of unlawful assembly or disorderly conduct, in another venue. Given the make-up of DC and the fact that over 90% of the population there voted for HRC, and the fact that these charges stem from a “demonstration” against HRC’s opponent, Donald Trump, I think it is unlikely to empanel an impartial jury and that a change of venue is in order.

Subotai Bahadur | January 19, 2018 at 8:23 pm

Are these Federal prosecutors left over from the Obama administration, and if so how interested are they really in getting convictions against their allies on the streets?

Twitter banned the #releasethememo hashtag but still, RELEASE THE FREAKING MEMO.

Just goes to show if you own valuable property you had better find a way to defend it. Someone had to pay for the damages. I wonder who?

But but I was told that whites don’t riot.

Char Char Binks | January 21, 2018 at 9:00 pm

Fake news! There weren’t even 129 people in attendance. Sad.