Prosecutors proceed against 59 inauguration rioters, charges against 129 others dropped

Police fire pepper spray at those protesting against the inauguration of Donald Trump

Almost a year after about 200 people were charged with rioting during President Trump's inauguration, federal prosecutors announced they would drop a majority of the cases because they could not prove the defendants planned or participated in protests with the aim of smashing storefronts, setting fires and causing other property damage.

More than 200 people were indicted by a grand jury in connection to an unpermitted march that broke out in Washington D.C. on January 20, 2017 in what was known as the "Disrupt J20" protests. Twenty of them have pleaded guilty, and prosecutors previously dropped cases against another 20.

In December the first such trial resulted in all 6 defendants being acquitted by a jury.

In light of the legal rulings by the court and the jury's verdicts in the first trial of these cases, the government has chose to proceed with all of the pending charges set forth in the superseding indictment (to include felony charges) for the above-captioned fifty-nine (59) defendants. The U.S. Attorney's office noted specifically the "unpermitted anti-capitalist march" that made use of a "black bloc" tactic, in which black-clad participants move as one group engaging in destruction of property.

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There are 188 defendants with charges pending, and Bill Miller, spokesperson for the US attorney's office, said it would focus instead on a "smaller, core group" of the remaining 59.

But jurors said prosecutors failed to prove that the six defendants actually participated in the riots as opposed to being part of the group who were peacefully demonstrating. Those protests were far smaller than the Women's March the following day, in which hundreds of thousands of people poured into several major USA cities, including Washington. Authorities tallied the damage at more than $100,000.

Trials for the remaining defendants were scheduled to proceed through the end of the year. And if you add in the 20 individual who have already pleaded guilty you could wind up with as many as 79 convictions out of 215 people charged.


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