WASHINGTON - June 13 - The St. Patrick Four, Daniel Burns, Clare Grady, Peter De Mott and Teresa Grady, recently learned that Tompkins County District Attorney George Dentes has asked the US Attorney to prosecute the case in federal court. The four were tried in a Tompkins County court on charges of felony criminal mischief for carefully pouring their own blood in the vestibule of the local military recruiting center on March 17, 2003, hours before the invasion of Iraq. The trial ended in a hung jury, with nine jurors for acquittal.
Loyola University law professor Bill Quigley, who acted as advisory counsel during the first trial and who expects to be involved if there is a second trial said. The mere fact that Attorney General John Ashcroft would take the extraordinary step of considering re-prosecuting people after state prosecutors have admitted they cant get a conviction is a scary example of increased criminalization of dissent.
We continue to maintain our innocence. If there is a trial in federal court, we will explain to a second jury why we had a right and obligation to take nonviolent direct action against the war said Peter De Mott.
If federal prosecutors decide to go forward we will make every effort to focus this trial on the people of Iraq and their continued suffering as a result of US led sanctions, war and occupation, said Clare Grady.
The fact that the Tompkins County District Attorney admits that local people will not convict their fellow citizens for nonviolently taking action against the war is a victory for all who struggle for peace and justice, said Daniel Burns.
Whether or not there is a trial in federal court, we will continue to hold our government accountable for crimes against the peace and against the people of Iraq, said Teresa Grady.