PRESS RELEASE- Six Inauguration Day Defendants Move for Sanctions against a Federal Prosecutor and Dismissal of Their Charges
By PRESS RELEASE
Defend J20 Resistance
For Immediate Release: May 23, 2018
Sam Menefee-Libey of DC Legal Posse : 909.576.3113 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Six Inauguration Day Defendants Move for Sanctions against a Federal Prosecutor and Dismissal of Their Charges
Defense lawyers accuse government of withholding evidence from covert video taken by far-right group Project Veritas
Washington, DC – Lawyers for six Inauguration Day protesters will argue a pretrial motion today accusing Assistant US Attorney Jennifer Kerkhoff of withholding evidence favorable to the defense. In a motion filed yesterday, defense lawyers call on the court to sanction AUSA Kerkhoff for this “blatant hiding of evidence” and a dismissal of the indictment against all six defendants–Matthew Hessler, Christopher Litchfield, Daniel Meltzer, Dylan Petrohilos, Clay Retherford, and Caroline Unger–scheduled to go to trial on June 4.
The motion for sanctions and dismissal, which will be heard this morning by DC Superior Court Chief Justice Robert E. Morin, stems from the government’s use of video footage supplied by the far-right organization Project Veritas. AUSA Kerkhoff has continued to use the Project Veritas video to criminalize protest organizers and protest planning, accusing defendants of conspiring to commit acts of violence.
What: Hearing on a motion for sanctions and dismissal of charges against six Inauguration Day defendants
When: Wednesday, May 23 at 10am
Where: DC Superior Court, H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse, 500 Indiana Avenue NW
AUSA Kerkhoff has consistently maintained that the footage redacted from the beginning and end of the Project Veritas video had no evidentiary value. But after defense lawyers demanded, then obtained through court order the uncut footage, it was apparent that exculpatory evidence had been withheld by the government. AUSA Kerkhoff is also being accused of disclosing new video evidence without notifying the defense.
“Assistant US Attorney Jennifer Kerkhoff has repeatedly shown contempt for the legal process in her zeal to convict political activists,” said Sam Menefee-Libey of DC Legal Posse. “Federal prosecutors are prepared to hide evidence, malign political organizing, and spend millions of taxpayer dollars in an attempt to put anti-Trump protesters behind bars for decades.”
By failing to adhere to prosecutorial obligations under a 1963 US Supreme Court decision in Brady v. Maryland, requiring prosecutors to disclose exculpatory evidence in advance of trial, lawyers argue that USA Kerkhoff misled both defense counsel and the court. If Judge Morin decides not to dismiss the charges against the six defendants, lawyers are asking for the video to be suppressed at trial.
Today’s motion comes as another Inauguration Day protest trial which began on May 14 continues against four defendants–Michael Basillas (pronouns: they, them), Seth Cadman, Anthony Felice, and Casey Webber. On Monday, the government called undercover Metropolitan Police Department officer Bryan Adelmeyer as a witness to testify about his undercover operation to infiltrate and investigate the same January 8, 2017 planning meeting which was filmed by Project Veritas. Although Adelmeyer authenticated the footage taken by a Project Veritas operative, the undisclosed segments of footage were not raised during his testimony.
Another Inauguration Day protest trial against four defendants is set to begin on Tuesday, May 29.
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.