“There are four defendants on trial now, each facing eight charges”
In January of this year, prosecutors dropped charges against 129 of the people who rioted in Washington DC on Trump’s inauguration day. This week, the second round of defendants go on trial.
Zoe Tillman reports at BuzzFeed:
A Jury Acquitted The First Group To Stand Trial On Inauguration Rioting Charges. Prosecutors Are Trying Again.
The US Attorney’s Office in Washington, DC, is in a very different position now trying a new group of defendants than it was at the start of the first trial in November. There were 188 defendants with cases pending at the time — still a sizeable chunk of the 234 people arrested in downtown Washington on Jan. 20, 2017. Prosecutors had secured a string of guilty pleas, including one that resulted in jail time.
Now, the government is trying to bounce back from a high-profile loss. After a DC Superior Court jury acquitted the first group, prosecutors announced they were dropping charges against 129 remaining defendants, saying they would focus on defendants who allegedly engaged in “identifiable acts of destruction, violence, or other assaultive conduct,” who planned violence, or who participated in “black bloc” tactics to aid the property destruction that day.
The latest trial — jury selection began Monday — will test whether that strategy pays off. In the first trial, there was no evidence the defendants were involved in destroying property. According to Defend J20 Resistance, a group supporting the defendants, prosecutors are expected to accuse some of the defendants on trial now of participating in the violence.
The potential consequences are serious:
There are four defendants on trial now, each facing eight charges: one felony count of inciting or urging to riot, five felony counts of destruction of property, and two misdemeanor counts for engaging in a riot and conspiracy to riot.
The felony charges carry maximum penalties of 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. The misdemeanors have maximum penalties of 180 days in prison and a $1,000 fine.
Many people on the right were disappointed when so many of these folks walked in January. This time could be different, as John Sexton observed at Hot Air:
So the government’s strategy didn’t work out well the first time around but this trial should be different. This time the defendants are being accused of specific acts. Hopefully, guilty verdicts will be the result and a clear message will be sent to other black bloc anarchists out there who are watching this trial closely.
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