PRESS RELEASE: Trump Admin Will Spend Millions to Try Inauguration Day Defendants, Each Facing Decades in Prison


For Immediate Release: November 14, 2017

Contact: Sam Menefee-Libey of DC Legal Posse or (909) 576-3113

Trump Admin Will Spend Millions to Try Inauguration Day Defendants, Each Facing Decades in Prison

Trials begin November 15 despite an ongoing investigation into questionable arrests, police misconduct

Washington, DC – Trials for the nearly 200 people arrested on Inauguration Day are scheduled to begin on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 in DC Superior Court before Judge Lynn Leibovitz.

The first bloc of trials include six defendants—Jennifer Armento, Oliver Harris, Britt Lawson, Michelle “Miel” Macchio, Christina Simmons, and Alexei Wood. To highlight the start of trials, Defend J20 Resistance will hold a press conference that day in front of DC Superior Court at 8:30am.

What: Press conference to highlight the beginning of J20 trials

When: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 at 8:30am – Trial begins at 9:30am

Where: H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse, 500 Indiana Ave NW, Washington, DC

In addition to protesters, the first trial bloc includes a photojournalist and two people being identified by the prosecution as street medics. Alexei Wood was documenting events that day, and is one of two journalists still facing charges. Many volunteer medics were in DC during the inauguration weekend to provide care for people engaging in political expression. Several of these medics were caught up in the mass arrest on Inauguration Day and are still facing charges.

In a hearing yesterday, Assistant US Attorney Jennifer Kerkhoff reduced the charges against seven defendants scheduled for trial on December 11, 2017 to three misdemeanors: engaging in a riot, conspiracy to riot, and property destruction. The reduction of charges to misdemeanors for these defendants means that the trial will be held before Judge Leibovitz without an empanelled jury.

In an indictment issued in April, each of the more than 200 defendants at the time were charged with at least 8 felonies–rioting, inciting a riot, conspiracy to riot, and multiple counts of property destruction. But, on Wednesday, Judge Leibovitz issued an order correcting the ‘rioting’ and ‘conspiracy to riot’ charges by reducing them to misdemeanors. All but the seven defendants scheduled to be tried on December 11 are still facing as much as 60 years in prison.

The first trials begin more than a month after an independent investigation was initiated by the DC Mayor’s Office of Police Complaints (OPC) into the questionable arrests and violence carried out by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) on Inauguration Day. The OPC issued a report in February critical of MPD conduct, recommending that the district hire an “independent consultant” to investigate MPD misconduct. The District Council responded by allocating $150,000 to the investigation which began last month.

To clear up apparent confusion over the sequence of events on Inauguration Day, Defend J20 Resistance has published a graphic timeline. Specifically, the timeline indicates how police wantonly attacked protesters, journalists, medics, legal observers and bystanders soon after the march left Logan Circle. The timeline refutes claims by MPD Chief Peter Newsham that the police attacks were in response to a damaged limousine, something that occurred more than five hours after people were trapped and detained by MPD.

The next trial bloc is scheduled for December 11, 2017, and remaining trials will take place over the next year, through the fall of 2018. The roughly 20 trial blocs will typically consist of 8-9 defendants each.


Defend J20 Resistance is a large group of felony defendants arrested on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC and their supporters who have all agreed not to testify against each other and are working together to collectively defend themselves. is a product of their work.