PRESS RELEASE NOV 30 - Federal Prosecutor in First Inauguration Day Trial Tries to Use Alt-Right Video as Evidence of Conspiracy
By PRESS RELEASE
Defend J20 Resistance
For Immediate Release: November 30, 2017
Sam Menefee-Libey of DC Legal Posse : 909.576.3113 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Jude Ortiz of Defend J20 Resistance : 612.466.0770 / email@example.com
Federal Prosecutor in First Inauguration Day Trial Tries to Use Alt-Right Video as Evidence of Conspiracy
Project Veritas video shows Trump administration colluding with ultraconservative organizations to criminalize its political opposition
Officer Bryan Adelmeyer went undercover to investigate protest organizers and was present at the meeting filmed by Project Veritas.
Washington, DC – Trials entered their second week yesterday for six of the 194 defendants arrested on January 20, 2017, Inauguration Day, each facing six felony charges and two misdemeanors. This first trial group—out of more than 20 trial groups to be tried over the next year—includes defendants Jennifer Armento, Oliver Harris, Brittne Lawson, Michelle “Miel” Macchio, Christina Simmons, and Alexei Wood.
On Wednesday, Assistant US Attorney Jennifer Kerkhoff called to the stand Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) intelligence officer Bryan Adelmeyer, who infiltrated multiple protest planning meetings in advance of Inauguration Day. Adelmeyer authenticated video footage from a January 8 meeting, taken covertly by Project Veritas, the controversial “ultraconservative” group known for ethically dubious and deceptively edited sting operations against liberal and leftist groups.
Instead of the video depicting any of the defendants on trial, it showed a political organizing meeting for a public, planned anti-capitalist and anti-fascist march attended by about 300 people planning numerous other anti-Trump demonstrations throughout downtown DC. Cross-examination of Adelmeyer revealed that he signed an MPD contract to infiltrate “anti-establishment” groups engaged in First Amendment activity.
In response to cross-examination, Adelmeyer acknowledged that targeted groups included ones engaged in work such as racial and socio-economic justice, LGBTQ rights, climate change, “anti nazi-ism,” and anti-fascism. Adelmeyer testified that he did not focus on faces when infiltrating the meeting and acknowledged that people recorded on the video who were not identified could have been members of Project Veritas. Adelmeyer also admitted that Project Veritas is a right wing organization known for surreptitiously editing its video footage for political purposes.
“The Project Veritas video shows that the federal government is in collusion with ultraconservative organizations to criminalize its political opposition,” said Kris Hermes of Defend J20 Resistance. “The Trump administration is using these cases and serious felonies to disrupt political organizing and chill dissent.” The prosecution may also enter into evidence another video in its possession filmed by the far-right group Oath Keepers.
Adelmeyer was one of several police officers who have been called as prosecution witnesses, none of whom identified the defendants on trial as doing anything unlawful. Kerkhoff has also called several store managers and workers from businesses that sustained damage in the form of broken windows, none of whom testified about the defendants on trial.
On Wednesday, November 22, DC Superior Court Judge Lynn Leibovitz denied a motion to suppress some of the evidence based on a lack of probable cause. Leibovitz ruled that police had “particularized probable cause” against each defendant that justified to “kettling,” or trapping and detaining, more than 230 marchers just by virtue of their presence in the group at the time of arrest.
“There’s no way that police had particularized probable cause to mass arrest people,” said Hermes. “Prosecution witnesses have failed repeatedly to testify about the trial defendants doing anything related to the charges.” Prosecution witnesses also testified that dozens if not hundreds of protesters joined and left the march after its departure from Logan Circle, and that they had no knowledge of whether people joined or left the march at any point, calling into question the idea that being kettled and arrested is particularized probable cause for being arrested.
Notably, on Wednesday, November 28, Kerkhoff tried to insinuate through direct examination of MPD officer Kamil Rembiszewski that the limousine fire depicted by numerous mainstream media outlets had occurred during the march instead of hours later in the day. In order to avoid confusion, Judge Leibovitz interjected with a specific instruction for the jury. “You may have heard of news reports about a period later in the day that that same limousine was engulfed in flames,” said Judge Leibovitz, telling the jury to “disregard” any of those news reports or images.
The prosecution’s case is expected to last at least another week before the defense has a chance to put on its case. The trial is likely to last at least two more weeks, despite the next trial scheduled to begin on December 11.
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. DefendJ20Resistance.org is a product of their work.