First Six Anti-Trump Inauguration Day Defendants Acquitted of All Charges
Drop the Charges on ALL J20 Defendants!

December 22, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |


On Thursday, December 21, six people on trial for charges stemming from arrests at the defiant protest last January 20 against Donald Trump were found not guilty on all eight counts they were facing—misdemeanor rioting and conspiracy to riot, and five counts of felony property destruction. The jury deliberated for two days before rejecting the government’s attempts to carry out a political railroad of the six J20 defendants. According to a press release from Defend J20 Resistance, “Defendants Jennifer Armento, Oliver Harris, Britt Lawson, Michelle ‘Miel’ Macchio, Christina Simmons, and Alexei Wood left the courthouse today elated by the outcome.”

The government is still intent on bringing 188 remaining Inauguration Day defendants to trial, many facing a possible 60 years in jail. The defeat of the prosecution of the first six defendants was a victory—but all the charges against all the defendants must be dropped!

This prosecution is an act of revenge against the protests that erupted as Trump took office, showing the whole world that there were millions in the U.S. who hate Trump and everything he stands for. But as we have reported, these trials are about much more than revenge—they are a major escalation of fascist repression, with extremely ominous implications.

From the Defend J20 Resistance press release: “Supporters continue to point out that the government has attempted to chill political protest with high-level felony charges and that part of the punishment for defendant’s expressing their views is being forced to endure months of aggressive prosecution and a weeks-long trial. Most of the defendants facing trial have been working together to collectively defend themselves against the outrageous claims of the government, and will continue to do so.

“The trial also underscored the extent to which the Trump administration was actively working with far-right and neo-fascist political groups like Project Veritas, Oath Keepers, Media Research Center and Rebel Media to criminalize and punish anti-fascist and anti-Trump activists. Despite what could be considered collusion with these groups, and the government’s attempt to criminalize ‘anti-establishment’ views, the jury roundly rejected those efforts.”

A hearing in the trial of the next seven Inauguration Day defendants on three misdemeanor charges—rioting, conspiracy to riot and one count of property destruction—is scheduled for January 19. The next trial of people facing the same charges that the first six defendants were acquitted of is set for March 5.

The J20 Defendants must be vigorously defended and supported. And their spirit of determination to struggle and sacrifice in the interests of humanity should be called forth from thousands and millions who need to act with ever more defiance and determination to drive the fascist regime from power.

For more background, see: Michael Slate Interviews Sam Menefee-Libey on Trial of Inauguration Day Protesters: “This really is very frightening”


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