posted on Jul, 20 2018 @ 12:42 PM
Last Friday afternoon, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia dismissed charges against the 39 remaining J20 Inauguration Day
protesters under indictment, bringing a close to a year-and-a-half-long saga marked by police aggression, prosecutorial overreach, and heartening
displays of solidarity by the defendants and their supporters.
“I was sitting in the front row of a civil court proceeding when I heard,” said Ella Fassler, a 25-year-old defendant from New York, whose charges
were dropped last week. “I had to hold back a yelp of disbelief. I walked out as quickly as I could and met up with a co-defendant; we hugged,
danced around, and called our loved ones. Radical leftists don’t win all that often, so we have to pause and soak in the victory when we do.”
While the U.S. government may be finished with the J20 prosecutions, however, J20 defendants are not done with the prosecutors. Amid the celebrations,
the defendants and advocates are turning to a new task: holding prosecutors accountable for their conduct at trial — and for the unnecessary anxiety
and ambient trauma suffered by the defendants.
It took a year and a half but the charges against all of the J20 defendants have been dropped. For anyone that has followed this case this should not
come as a surprise. It should also not come as a surprise that the former defendants are now seeking to hold Assistant US Attorney Jennifer Kerkhoff
Throughout this case Kerkhoff and the government made a complete mockery of due process. While this case had been marred with controversy almost from
the start the depths the government were willing to go to to win this case did not become known until recently.
What started as a Brady violation stemming from the fact that the prosecution had edited out a section of the video that was their key piece of
evidence soon revealed that the prosecution was withholding 70+ pieces of evidence that could help exonerate the defendants. When asked why this
evidence was not provided to the defense the prosecution responded that they could not answer the question at that time.
This is what forms the basis for the case that is now being built against Kerkhoff with the desired goal of getting her disbarred. Unfortunately it is
rare for a prosecutor to receive any kind of substantive punishment from a Brady violation. What makes this case different is that, while she did her
best to avoid outright lying to judge, Kerkhoff did lie to the judge when she said that the prosecution was not withholding evidence. This could lead
to a contempt charge for Kerkhoff which will mean she's in much deeper trouble.
The backlash against Kerkhoff is just the beginning though. The ACLU has filed charges against Metropolitan Police for their role played in this whole
charade. Meanwhile other groups have filed FOIA requests trying to find out how much cooperation was actually going on between police, prosecution,
and far Right groups like Project Veritas to bring down the J20 protesters.
This case has shone a disturbing light on the US legal system. This was a high profile case with a lot of eyes on it. If the US government is willing
to cheat to win in this case what does that mean for all the cases that don't receive nationwide coverage?