British treason law could involve, among other things, “Some association with rioting.”
That whole “Association with Rioting” thing?
Federal prosecutors were attempting to use that against inauguration day protestors, and today, all 6 defendants (over 100 others remain charged) were acquitted of all charges:
The first six people to face trial in Inauguration Day protests that turned destructive in the nation’s capital were acquitted of all charges, a victory not only for the defendants but also for advocates who argued the government overreached in its effort to prosecute more than 200 people arrested as they marched through the city.
Following a nearly four-week trial and two full days of deliberations, a D.C. Superior Court jury delivered not-guilty verdicts Thursday on multiple charges of rioting and destruction of property.
The defendants — including a nurse for cancer patients, a freelance photographer and a college student — joined throngs of protesters who took to the streets Jan. 20 to protest Donald Trump’s election. Prosecutors said the six were among a group that cut a violent swath through 16 blocks of the city, smashing businesses’ windows, tossing newspaper boxes into the street and damaging a limousine. Authorities tallied the damage at more than $100,000.
Jennifer Armento, 38, a Philadelphia woman who was among the six, said the verdict “shows the country that the jury was unwilling to do what the government wanted them to do, which was criminalize dissent.”
From the start, defense attorneys said their clients and most others in the group of about 500 were peacefully protesting, while only a handful peeled off and became violent. They criticized police for failing to identify those people and said officers unfairly herded a group of about 200 and charged them with rioting.
During his closing argument last week, attorney Steven J. McCool, who represented one of the men on trial, appealed to jurors to protect the “rights of free speech.”
Prosecutors told jurors there was no evidence the six people on trial were personally involved in the vandalism but argued that they chose to remain with the group, essentially providing cover for those who caused the damage.
In his closing argument, Assistant U.S. Attorney Rizwan Qureshi told jurors the group “tore up your city, putting people in danger.”
He presented the jury with the analogy of a bank robbery, likening the defendants to a getaway driver while comparing those who smashed windows to the robber in the bank.
Seriously, the prosecutor’s argument is literally unAmerican.
This prosecution was a contemptible attempt to criminalize legal protest.