PRESS RELEASE - Media Advisory - Third J20 Trial Begins This Week


MEDIA ADVISORY - Third J20 Trial Begins This Week

Defend J20 Resistance
For Immediate Release: May 28, 2018
Contact: Betty Rothstein of Defend J20 Resistance - (518) 763-4098
General Email:

Third Inauguration Day Protest Trial Begins May 29, Amid Controversy Over Evidentiary Violations by the Prosecution

Lawyers in current and upcoming trials accuse government of withholding evidence from video taken by far-right group

Washington, DC -- The third Inauguration Day protest trial against four defendants--Molly Carter, Phillip Glaser, Christian Valencia, and Arturo Vasquez--is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, May 29, while the second trial against four other defendants, which began on May 14, is still underway.

Last week, lawyers for six defendants scheduled to be tried on June 4 filed a motion seeking sanctions against Assistant US Attorney Jennifer Kerkhoff and a dismissal of charges for withholding evidence favorable to the defense. The motion for sanctions and dismissal, which will be heard Thursday, May 31 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, forming the basis of the government's conspiracy charges against defendants.

What: First day of the third Inauguration Day protest trial against four defendants facing multiple felonies
When: Tuesday, May 29 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.

"By withholding evidence and colluding with ultra-conservative groups like Project Veritas, the federal government has laid bare its political motivations and its intent to stop at nothing in order to obtain convictions in this case," said Betty Rothstein of Defend J20 Resistance. "The prosecution has an M.O. of repeatedly withholding evidence, but with the Project Veritas video they outright hid an exculpatory quote, which is disturbingly similar to Project Veritas' own shady techniques of doctoring videos and presenting them as true."

On Thursday, lawyers for the four defendants currently on trial filed a similar motion to dismiss the charges based on the same evidentiary violations by the prosecution. 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 called AUSA Kerkhoff's Brady violations "particularly egregious" and are demanding the dismissal of charges against all May 14 trial defendants, or a mistrial at the very least.

Last week, AUSA Kerkhoff called two witnesses crucial to the government's case against the May 14 trial defendants. On Monday, the government called Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officer Bryan Adelmeyer to testify about his undercover operation to infiltrate and investigate the same January 8, 2017 planning meeting which was filmed by Project Veritas, and to authenticate their questionable footage.

The government also called MPD Detective Greggory Pemberton, who has been working with prosecutors full-time since Inauguration Day to build these cases. In addition to the Project Veritas video, Pemberton has gathered footage from other right-wing groups like Rebel Media, Oath Keepers, and Media Research Center, whose "sole mission is to expose and neutralize the propaganda arm of the Left." It came out during the November 2017 trial that Pemberton follows numerous white nationalist and far-right groups on Twitter, including Project Veritas founder James O'Keefe.

The Inauguration Day (J20) protests cases stem from the violent police response to an anti-capitalist and anti-fascist march through downtown DC on January 20, 2017. The MPD ultimately entrapped, or "kettled," and arrested more than 200 people. The Trump Justice Department indicted 234 people with several felonies. The first trial began in November 2017 and ended with a jury acquitting all six defendants of all charges. In January, the government dismissed charges against 129 people, but decided to proceed with 58 remaining cases.

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.