Hung Jury For Embassy Protectors a Victory for International Solidarity Against Empire, Political Speech
Judge Howell ruled that defendants could not:
argue that their First Amendment political rights were violated;
argue the Trump administration violated the Geneva Convention by failing to protect the embassy and lawful ambassador;
argue that Juan Gaudio is not president of Venezuela;
argue that the Embassy Protectors were prepared to leave the embassy voluntarily once a protecting power agreement was reached between the US and Venezuela.
WASHINGTON, DC – The Green Party expresses relief and gratitude for the jurors who held out and refused to level a guilty verdict in the trial of the Embassy Protectors’ Collective. The federal district court trial began on February 11, and resulted three days later in a hung jury and mistrial. The court will reconvene on February 28 (Update: negotiations are ongoing. Next hearing scheduled for March 6), when the prosecution will state how it wishes to proceed. The Embassy Protectors could have faced up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine each.
Green Party of the United States
For Immediate Release:
February 14, 2020
Michael O’Neil, Communications Manager, email@example.com, 202-804-2758
Holly Hart, Co-chair, Media Committee | firstname.lastname@example.org | 202-804-2758
Craig Seeman, Co-chair, Media Committee | email@example.com | 202-804-2758
The four individuals were arrested in May of 2019 at the Venezualen Embassy in Washington, D.C., where they were attempting to protect an embassy takeover by an appointee of coup leader Juan Guaido. Included among the four are Green Party of the United States National Co-Chair Margaret Flowers, and Kevin Zeese, 2006 Green candidate for U.S. Senate from Maryland.
At the beginning of the trial, Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell issued a ruling placing a number of restrictions on what the defendants would be allowed to tell the jury. They could not argue that their First Amendment political rights were violated; that Juan Guaido is not, in fact, president of Venezuela; nor that the Protectors were prepared to leave the embassy voluntarily once a protecting power agreement was reached between the US and Venezuela.
The Embassy Protectors decided not to present a defense because, in their view, the Trump administration did not prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. After the four defense lawyers gave closing statements and the prosecution gave its rebuttal, the jury met for four hours and resumed deliberations the next morning.
Defend Embassy Protectors
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