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Inauguration Protesters' Charges Dropped Over Veritas Videos

Inauguration Protesters' Charges Dropped Over Veritas Videos

Police officers detain a demonstrator before the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump on Jan. 20, 2017, in Washington, DC. (Zach Gibson/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 01 June 2018 08:55 AM

Inauguration protesters' felony charges were dropped Thursday after a judge ruled that prosecutors withheld videos made by James O'Keefe's Project Veritas that had been turned over to the government, the HuffPost reported.

D.C. Superior Court Chief Judge Robert Morin dropped the charges against 10 individuals who protested at President Donald Trump's inauguration after the tapes surfaced in the closing arguments of another trial against another group of defendants, the website said.

Morin dismissed the charges with prejudice, meaning prosecutors in the District of Columbia's U.S. Attorney's Office would not be able to bring up the charges again.

"I do think it's a serious violation," Morin said, according to the HuffPost, adding that the prosecutors' exclusion of the videos was not explainable.

Scott Michelman, senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of D.C., called the nondisclosure of the videos "undeniable prosecutorial misconduct" and "a serious governmental abuse of power," according to the HuffPost.

"From the initial overcharging decisions to these latest revelations about the government's misleading editing of the Project Veritas video, the U.S. Attorney's office has repeatedly abused its power in a quest to lock people up for exercising their First Amendment rights on Inauguration Day," Michelman continued.

The Hill newspaper reported that more than 200 people were arrested in connection with protests during President Donald Trump's inauguration ceremonies. The charges ranged from conspiracy to engage in a riot to destruction of property.

The HuffPost noted that it was not clear if Morin's ruling would affect the other trial where the videos were presented.

Federal prosecutors nixed charges for more than 100 of those arrested and moved ahead on charges against 59 suspects, The Hill said.

The HuffPost reported last December that six defendants were found not guilty in connection with arrest during the inauguration in what some saw as preview of the federal prosecutors' cases against others. Prosecutors said then they had planned to proceed with cases.

"The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia believes that the evidence shows that a riot occurred on Jan. 20, 2017, during which numerous public and private properties were damaged or destroyed," the office said in a statement, per the HuffPost in December.

"This destruction impacted many who live and work in the District of Columbia, and created a danger for all who were nearby. The criminal justice process ensures that every defendant is judged based on his or her personal conduct and intent," the statement continued.

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Inauguration protesters' felony charges were dropped Thursday after a judge ruled that prosecutors withheld videos made by James O'Keefe's Project Veritas that had been turned over to the government.
inauguration, protesters, charges, dropped
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2018-55-01
Friday, 01 June 2018 08:55 AM
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