Offbeat Justice Department Drops More Charges Against Trump Inauguration Defendants

02:10  14 june  2018
02:10  14 june  2018 Source:   huffingtonpost.com

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WASHINGTON ― Justice Department prosecutors in the District of Columbia have dropped felony charges against 129 protesters who were swept up in mass arrests on the day of Donald Trump ’s inauguration . The move came after a jury last month found all six defendants in the first felony trial

Justice Department , said it would focus on a “core group” of 59 defendants it thinks were most “The government will be filing motions to dismiss without prejudice the indictment against the other we believe is most responsible for the destruction and violence that took place on Inauguration Day.”

Elizabeth Lagesse was one of the defendants who had her charges dropped on Wednesday. © Ryan J Reilly / HuffPost Elizabeth Lagesse was one of the defendants who had her charges dropped on Wednesday.

WASHINGTON ― Justice Department prosecutors have dropped charges against eight additional defendants they’d been trying to convict of felonies in connection with their arrests during a protest of President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, a component of the Justice Department that prosecutes local and federal crimes in the nation’s capital, had originally charged more than 200 defendants with felonies. They alleged that the defendants were part of a rioting conspiracy, and sought to hold them responsible for more than $100,000 in damages to various businesses in downtown D.C. during a “black bloc” demonstration on Jan. 20, 2017.

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However, the Justice Department still plans to continue cases against 59 others that were involved in the march. Last month, jurors found the first six defendants to be not guilty on all charges , including Next articleWhen economic growth indicates failure. Justice . TAGS. Inauguration Day protests.

Justice Department to drop felony charges against 129 protesters swept up in mass inauguration day arrests to focus on 59 other defendants . The most pressing threats and notable goings-on in free expression today. U.S. Justice Department Drops Felony Charges Against 129 Trump

But at two trials, prosecutors have failed to secure any convictions. The latest blow came last week, when a jury either acquitted or could not reach a verdict in the cases against four defendants, three of whom the government alleged took part in property destruction. The government had dropped charges against 129 defendants after a jury acquitted six defendants on all charges in December.

Charges against another 10 defendants were dismissed because a judge found the government had withheld evidence that was provided to authorities by Project Veritas, a conservative group headed by James O’Keefe. With Wednesday’s dismissals, there are fewer than 40 defendants still facing felony charges.

Elizabeth Lagesse was one of the defendants who had her charges dropped on Wednesday. Lagesse, who has been a consistent presence in the courtroom for hearings in cases against other demonstrators, said the case has had a “huge impact” on her life. She ended up moving to D.C. to deal with the trial, and said it’s a “huge weight” off her shoulders to no longer be facing felony charges.

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Protesters gather in a park at the onset of protests against the inauguration of Donald Trump in Federal prosecutors are dropping felony rioting charges against 129 of the nearly 200 people they In December, a jury refused to convict any of the first six defendants in the riot case on any of the

The Attorney's Office said they dropped the charges against most of the remaining defendants in order to focus on a smaller, core group that they believe were most responsible for the "violence and destruction" that occurred on Inauguration Day.

Lagesse is part of a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union that takes aim at the tactics used by the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. She believes her involvement in the lawsuit, and her advocacy for other defendants, are part of the reason the charges against her weren’t dropped long ago.

“I think it’s because they didn’t want to drop someone who was part of the ACLU’s civil suit, and I think it’s because they didn’t want to drop someone who had sort of been a stick in their eye,” she said.

Lagesse’s partner, Michael Webber, is still facing charges and is set to go to trial in October.

Ryan Reilly is HuffPost’s senior justice reporter, covering the Justice Department, federal law enforcement, criminal justice and legal affairs. Have a tip? Reach him at ryan.reilly@huffpost.com or on Signal at 202-527-9261.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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Source: http://us.pressfrom.com/news/offbeat/-155037-justice-department-drops-more-charges-against-trump-inauguration-defendants/

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