On Dec. 21 2017, a jury returned a not-guilty verdict to the first six defendants in the J20 case, where hundreds of people were arrested and then charged with multiple felonies for allegedly being in the vicinity of property destruction during anti-Trump protests at his inauguration. Forty-two charges acquitted: twelve felonies, thirty misdemeanors. Subsequently, on Jan. 19 2018, the prosecution dropped charges against 129 defendants. This is a huge victory! But the fight isn’t over yet as 59 people still face decades in prison, with the next round of trials set to start on April 17, 2018. Now is the time to keep the pressure on the District of Columbia US Attorney’s Office. We know this is a case of political targeting, and we must demand that the remaining 59 defendants get their charges dropped!
We are asking that everyone call the US Attorney’s office from 9am-5pm on April 2 and April 3 and tell them to DROP THE CHARGES against ALL the remaining defendants!
Now is the time to keep up the pressure! The US Attorney’s office can decide to drop the charges at any time; let’s make sure they can’t get any other work done until they do! We’re asking people to call the desks of:
- Jennifer Kerkhoff – Lead Prosectuor on the case, Deputy Chief of the Felony Major Crimes Trial Section (202) 252-7380
- Lisa Greene – The Deputy Chief of the Superior Court Division, Kerkhoff’s direct supervisor (202) 252-7485
- Richard Tischner – The Chief of the Superior Court Division, Kerkhoff’s direct supervisor (202) 252-7274
- US Attorney for DC Jessie Liu – The person in charge of the US Attorney’s office, a Trump appointee (202) 252-7566
- Rizwan Qureshi - Assistant J20 prosecutor (general line - use directory/operator) (202) 252-7679
- John Gidez – The Chief of the Felony Major Crimes Trial Section, Kerkhoff’s colleague (202) 252-6752
- John Borchert - Assistant J20 prosecutor (esp. Dreamhost and Facebook warrants) (202) 252-7679
For maximum impact: Make it personal. Why are you upset? Let them respond. Make it a conversation. Ask them what they plan to do in response to public comment. End with a clear call to action. Here’s a sample script to get you started!
Hello. My name is __________.
I am calling because I've seen in the news that 59 Inauguration protesters are still facing trumped-up criminal charges. In light of the first trial's outcome--where the judge threw out one charge for complete lack of evidence, and the jury handed down NOT-GUILTY verdicts for the rest, as well as the subsequent 129 dropped cases that followed. -- I ask that your office drop the remaining charges.
Over the last year, these prosecutions have pushed every limit:
- using over-inflated charges, some of which were not even real, to intimidate and coerce plea deals,
- issuing gag orders to shield law enforcement from public accountability,
- making these prosecutions as disruptive as possible, and the investigations surrounding this case as intrusive as possible
Most defendants will wait more than a year for their day in court – under the constant threat of decades in prison.
Prosecutors have the choice of when or how to bring charges, and the responsibility for how that power is used. Your office has abused that power to punish, repress, and intimidate.
Drop the charges now.
N.B. Some callers to AUSA Kerkoff in January found her to be argumentitive, and may treat the call similarly to her courtroom presentation. You are welcome to expand this script to include opinions about the limits placed on street protest, the infiltration of anti-capitalist and anti-fascist communities by the police, or private property destruction as symbolic political action. Please be aware that your calls are likely recorded and we do not advise answering any questions about your identity. Please use your best discretion if referencing anything that occured on January 20th so as to not negatively impact the ongoing case.
To read more about the #J20 cases, click through to:
Know Your Rights, Natasha Lennard, June 28 2017.
A Conspiracy Between the Far-Right and the #J20 Prosecutions, It's Going Down, Dec. 18 2017.