J20 Arrests
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Over 200 people arrested in Washington, DC during Trump’s inauguration have been charged with eight or more felonies apiece, in a flagrant attempt at intimidation that could set an ugly precedent for future state repression. Yet in the chaotic news cycle of the Trump administration, few have even heard that this is taking place. In response, we are hosting a live video series in which legal supporters and defendants in previous politically charged court cases discuss the J20 case. The first video presentation took place June 13, at 8 pm Eastern Standard Time, offering an overview of the J20 prosecution and why it is significant. The second will take place on June 19 at 9 pm Eastern Time, bringing together legal supporters from the J20 and Standing Rock cases with a defendant from the RNC 8 conspiracy case of 2008.

Fighting State Repression: An Overview of the J20 Prosecution

Sam Menefee-Libey is a member of the DC Legal Posse, a collective that formed in the wake of the mass arrests on January 20, 2017 to support the J20 defendants. Sam offers an overview of the J20 case to date and answers questions about the political significance of the case and its place in the broader fight against state repression.

Responding to Punitive Charging: A Discussion with Former Defendants and Legal Supporters

Over 200 J20 defendants are now facing more than 70 years in prison, simply for participating in a demonstration. This is punitive charging: the intention is clearly to terrorize the defendants into taking plea deals so that these inflated charges never come to trial.

This is not the first time that conspiracy charges have been used to harass and intimidate dissidents. In 2008, for example, the RNC Welcoming Committee helped to organize massive demonstrations during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. In retaliation, police raided several homes and arrested eight organizers, charging them with “Conspiracy to Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism.” After two years of widely publicized struggle, all charges were dropped against three of the defendants, while the others plead to misdemeanors.

This video conference features a defendant from the RNC 8 case and legal support workers responding to the repression of Standing Rock and J20 defendants. They will discuss ways to organize a collective strategy against outrageous charges, how to survive a politically motivated court case, how to engage with the criminal legal system as radicals, and other important questions facing current and future defendants.

Also, on June 25, tune in to SubMedia for an episode of Trouble on the same theme: “No Justice… Just Us: Movement Defense Against State Repression.”