Media Advisory - Inauguration Day Protest Trials Continue to Be Plagued by Prosecutorial Misconduct
By PRESS RELEASE
Defend J20 Resistance
For Immediate Release: May 31, 2018
Contact: Andy Switzer of Defend J20 Resistance (267) 582-7114
General Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Inauguration Day Protest Trials Continue to Be Plagued by Prosecutorial Misconduct
As jury is set to deliberate in current trial, Chief Judge will rule today on evidentiary violations in upcoming trials
Washington, DC -- DC Superior Court Chief Judge Robert E. Morin is scheduled to rule today on evidentiary violations committed by the US Attorney's Office (USAO) in a combined hearing for two different trial groups of Inauguration Day protestors.
On May 23, Judge Morin determined during a trial readiness hearing that the USAO’s prosecution team, headed by Assistant US Attorney Jennifer Kerkhoff, had committed sanctionable violations in their handling of video evidence provided to the prosecution by the notoriously dishonest right-wing media group Project Veritas.
Judge Morin deferred judgment on whether the violations were intentional or acts of negligence and scheduled a hearing for today to make determinations in both the May 29 and June 4 trials.
What: Rulings on evidentiary violations in May 29, June 4 Inauguration Day protest trials & closing arguments in May 14 trial
When: Thursday, May 31 at 10am
Where: DC Superior Court, 500 Indiana Avenue NW, Room 302 (evidentiary rulings), Room 203 (closing arguments)
“The federal government colluded with far-right political groups to help arrest and prosecute anti-Trump protesters, then lied about altering evidence to suit its objectives,” said Andy Switzer of Defend J20 Resistance. “The only conspiracy that exists is between the Justice Department and its numerous right-wing surrogate informants.”
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, defense lawyers are calling for the dismissal of all charges against defendants in the May 29 and June 4 trial groups.
The video footage in question was filmed covertly at an Inauguration Day protest planning meeting on January 8, 2017 by a Project Veritas operative described by the prosecution as “Matt.” In footage redacted by the prosecution, “Matt” told other members of Project Veritas that he believed the meeting organizers had no knowledge of “upper echelon” planning, evidence which the defense considers exculpatory.
On Monday, defense lawyers discovered additional information related to Project Veritas, its operative known as “Matt,” and other instances of infiltration. Lawyers learned that “Matt” had infiltrated other Inauguration Day planning meetings and believed that no violence or property destruction was planned. There were apparently two other Project Veritas operatives at the January 8 meeting as well, and it was revealed that Project Veritas had rented a house in DC ahead of the inauguration for the purpose of infiltrating protest planning meetings which were recorded by as many as eight operatives. It was also disclosed that Project Veritas intended to provide these recordings to different law enforcement agencies, including the FBI which Project Veritas had met with on at least two occasions prior to the inauguration.
In the trial that began on May 14, issues related to the Project Veritas video were discovered only after the footage had been shown to the jury and authenticated by undercover police officer Bryan Adelmeyer, who also infiltrated the January 8 planning meeting. Despite calls from defense lawyers to dismiss the charges or, at the very least, declare a mistrial, Judge Kimberly Knowles ruled that the prosecutorial violations were not intentional and that the footage would remain in evidence considered by the jury.
While Judge Knowles's decision not to exclude or suppress the video footage will affect only the May 14 trial group, Judge Morin's ruling could have implications for more defendants than just those in the May 29 and June 4 trial groups.
The Inauguration Day protest 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. DefendJ20Resistance.org is a product of their work.