Victory for Dissent as Government Drops Charges Against Group of J20 Protesters

This is a developing story and may be updated…

In a series of victories for civil disobedience rights on Thursday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) dropped charges and dismissed several cases against people involved with the #DisruptJ20 march during President Donald Trump’s inauguration, and a federal judge sanctioned prosecutors for lying about evidence.

As Common Dreams has reported, last year “more than 200 anti-Trump demonstrators, legal observers, and journalists were ‘indiscriminately’ swept up in mass arrests carried out during inauguration protests.”

Although a jury found the first group of protesters not guilty of all charges in December, federal prosecutors have continued pursuing cases against 59 of the rounded-up demonstrators—trying them in groups, seeking to imprison them for decades on felony charges, and relying heavily on recordings by the right-wing activist group Project Veritas.

Following a revelation last week that “prosecutors suppressed potentially exculpatory evidence,” known as a Brady violation, it was revealed in an overnight filing by defense attorneys that the government concealed 69 Project Veritas audio and video files and altered other recordings.

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In response to the new Brady violations, at a pre-trial hearing on Thursday, Superior Court Judge Robert Morin dismissed conspiracy charges with prejudice—meaning that they cannot be refiled—but dismissed lesser charges without prejudice, meaning the government can still pursue those, according to reporters from the Huffington Post and Unicorn Riot.