PRESS RELEASE - US Attorney to Dismiss Cases Against 129 Inauguration Day Defendants, 59 Still Face Trial on Felony Charges
By PRESS RELEASE
Defend J20 Resistance
For Immediate Release: January 19, 2018
Sam Menefee-Libey of DC Legal Posse : 909.576.3113 / firstname.lastname@example.org
US Attorney to Dismiss Cases Against 129 Inauguration Day Defendants, 59 Still Face Trial on Felony Charges
Govt narrows case to aggressively prosecute smaller group of protesters, continues to spend millions of dollars
Washington, DC – In a surprise move, the US Attorney’s Office announced the dismissal of charges against 129 of the remaining 188 Inauguration Day defendants facing trials. In a legal filing yesterday, the Trump administration indicated its intent to still proceed with its prosecution of 59 Inauguration Day defendants named in the superseding indictment filed in April.
Inauguration Day defendants and their supporters welcomed the mass dismissal of charges, but also object to the decision to continue prosecuting the remaining cases, which they consider just as politically motivated. The charges dismissed yesterday were done so “without prejudice,” a legal term that means the Trump administration can re-file charges at any time at its discretion.
“The mass dismissal of charges is certainly a victory and means that more than a hundred people no longer have serious felonies and decades in prison hanging over our heads,” said Andy Switzer, a defendant whose charges were dismissed yesterday. “However, the Trump administration is still aggressively pursuing politically motivated charges against 59 of us and we will continue to work together and fight the government’s attempts to stifle resistance.”
The government’s “Notice of Intent to Proceed” relied on “legal rulings by the court” and “the jury’s [acquittal] verdicts in the first trial” to explain why it’s no longer proceeding against 129 defendants. “Yet, the Trump administration is still determined to spend millions of dollars to go after its political opponents for an alleged $100,000 worth of property damage,” said Switzer.
Inauguration Day defendants from the next two trial groups will have a status hearing today at 11:30 a.m. at DC Superior Court before Chief Judge Robert Morin. This will be the first hearing after a jury acquitted six Inauguration Day defendants of all charges in December. Judge Morin is expected to assign new judges to the remaining upcoming trial groups as well as schedule new trial dates.
An investigation into misconduct by the Metropolitan Police Department on Inauguration Day—overseen by the DC Mayor’s Office of Police Complaints—began in October and is currently underway. Despite an official investigation into excessive police force used against the defendants and whether the arrests were lawfully carried out that day, the federal government is nonetheless continuing its prosecutions.
As an expression of support for Inauguration Day defendants, an international day of solidarity will be held tomorrow, January 20—the anniversary of the protests—launching a broader week of solidarity and fundraising.
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.