Freeway9 trial Monday
Prosecution motion to ban words “Trump”, “fascism” and “First Amendment” from courtroom or anywhere in or near courthouse
1 March 2020 Press Advisory
Contact: Keith James (213) 949-8083
Mari Matsuoka (323) 574-3997
Facebook, Twitter: @RefuseFascismLA
When: Monday March 2, 10:30 a.m.
Where: Metropolitan Courthouse 6th Floor, Department 62
1945 S Hill St, Los Angeles, CA 90007
INTERVIEWS AVAILABLE (see defendants’ video).
|Copies of prosecution’s relevant motions available upon request
Journalists are encouraged to ask the court for copies of the 12 hours of tapes that are now under protective order.
* Dept. 62 Judge Anne Hwang (213) 745-1863
* Dept 74 — Judge Jeffrey Cohen-Laurie (213) 745-1874
Hearing on Monday and trial begins; Outrageous motion filed by prosecution; attempting ban use of words ‘Trump’, ‘Fascism’, ‘First Amendment’ in Courtroom; Attempt ban of general public talking about ‘social injustices’ anywhere near courthouse.
Background on case:
In 2017 members of Refuse Fascism and the Revolution Club were a part of actions meant to sound the alarm against a rapidly advancing fascism and modeling the kind of determined protest that is required to stop it blocking morning rush hour traffic on the 101 Freeway in Los Angeles with a 50-foot banner twice. For almost 2.5 years now the LAPD and the Democratic LA City Attorney’s office has relentlessly targeted, surveilled, harassed, and prosecuted these brave heroes filing 57 charges against 11 people with penalties that tallied up to almost 5 years of jail time.
The #Freeway9 defendants head back into court on Monday to face what may be the most outrageous day of pretrial in the last two and a half years. The prosecution is both attempting to both gut our basic first amendment rights, while through the backdoor admitting that this trial has everything to do with the first amendment.
Here is what happened in court on last week in court:
ENTRAPMENT ATTEMPT REVEALED, PROSECUTION ATTEMPTS COVER-UP
Freeway9 lawyers filed a motion to dismiss the charges based on political persecution. While the judge denied the motion, in the process of arguing the motion it came to light that a confidential informant sent in to RefuseFascism meetings to surveil and secretly record said in an open meeting: “I don’t like Trump and what he’s doing, ruining our country…you can give me a gun any day, I’ll shoot them.” and someone immediately responded “this is not what we are about”. [RefuseFascism’s mission statement makes clear it is calling for mass non-violent,sustained protest to drive the Trump/Pence fascist regime from power.]
The prosecutor then filed a motion asking the judge to forbid any mention of spying by the LAPD and any mention of the confidential informant who tried to openly incite violence against Trump in an attempt to entrap non-violent Refuse Fascism activists. He literally asked the judge to cover up evidence that shows the #Freeway9 protest wasn’t just about “trespassing” and could expose this case as a political hit job against Refuse Fascism.
PROSECUTION ASKS JUDGE TO GUT THE FIRST AMENDMENT
The prosecutor asked the judge to forbid the defendants, while testifying, from saying anything about why they engaged in the protest. He wants to muzzle the defendants from saying anything about what is going on in the real world including: “ripping babies out of their parents arms at the border, the threat of nuclear war, the fascist takeover of the United State government, and the death of migrants crossing the border”. He is asking the court to not only muzzle the defendants but to make sure NOBODY in the whole building (including the defense attorney’s) from communicating anything having to do with “Donald Trump, immigration, fascism, or social injustices”. This means that if the defendants or their attorney’s say out loud what the 50 foot banner had written on it they will be held in contempt of court and charged with a crime. If the defendants or defense attorneys say out talk about what was being chanted while on the freeway, they will be held in contempt of court and charged with a crime. If either the defendants or their defense lawyers even mention the name of the organization Refuse Fascism, they will be held in contempt of court, and charged with a crime. He is asking the Judge to force audience members who are wearing Refuse Fascism shirts to forced to remove them, under threat of arrest and criminal prosecution. He is asking the judge to ban all press conferences anywhere near the courthouse.
The prosecutor asked the judge to forbid the Defense Attorney’s from asking questions about or even referencing the first amendment. How does he argue why the judge should do this? “The People could not find any law that allows a defendant to prove that his First Amendment right exonerates him from criminal culpability.” This is like saying if the police arrest you at a march and charge you with jaywalking, that you have no right to use your First Amendment to exonerate you. If the judge grants this motion it would literally criminalize protest.
For a case allegedly only about “trespassing” the prosecution going great lengths to restrict and eliminate the first amendment. Miguel Alex Hernandez, a #Freeway9 defendant, put it this way:
“Who are the real criminals here? We just watched the real criminals in the White House get off the hook with a sham trial – where evidence was suppressed and truth meant nothing. These criminals have done horrendous things to immigrants, children, women, and LGBTQ people and in their wars around the world. And here we are, the people who have stood up against this and we are being criminalized and dragged through the court for two and a half years by a Democrat City Attorney Mike Feuer – who by his actions is collaborating with these fascists. Imagine the horrors that could have been prevented if people had answered our call in 2017. Instead of being celebrated for our foresight and courage, we’ve been harassed and targeted by the LAPD, targeted for unconstitutional surveillance and dragged through endless court dates! Everyone has to ask themselves, which side are you on? Free the Freeway9! Drop the charges!”
Read last media advisory: LAPD Spy Attempted Entrapment of Refuse Fascism with Calls for Violence.