Waging Peace: Not Guilty!
We finally received a verdict on Friday afternoon at about 11:30.
Half of us were guilty and half of us were not guilty. Unfortunately, I was in the not guilty half.
According to the jurors I spoke with later (one of whom is a lawyer), those who took the stand to testify on their own behalf incriminated themselves. For once, I kept my mouth shut. If the others had not spoken, they would have been acquitted as well because one of the government's witnesses, Officer Governor Latson, was not credible. He had claimed to have arrested all eight of us even though we were all sitting in different parts of the Senate gallery.
Two people were arrested merely for standing up, so the jury acquitted them. One person was not arrested by the officer who claimed to have arrested her (Latson) so she was granted an acquittal. One person did not say anything incriminating when she got on the stand and the prosecuting attorney did not ask her any questions, so she too was acquitted.
The five who were convicted have submitted an appeal based on illegally obtained and falsified evidence. That appeal will be heard sometime in December. I'm wagering that Judge Morin will dismiss the charges against the other five based on the motion. I'd rather be in that group and kick a little government butt.
I once heard Fr. Berrigan say that the first victims of an unjust law are the people who have to enforce it. I could see that so clearly in the face of the poor prosecutor at the end of the trial.
Let me say that Andrew Warren is a very descent and ethical man - and a darned good lawyer to boot. I wouldn't mind being prosecuted by him again. He had no idea that the evidence was falsified, and in fact he was told by Capitol Police that there was no information on the "Ghosts of Iraq War" action in the March 12 intelligence report. Unfortunately, he took them at their word when he should have looked through the report himself.
He can be accused of one moment of sloppy work and that is all. If he had looked through the report he would have seen the two references to us, and I have no doubt that he would have turned them over to the defense. However, he would not have known that the document was actually a private e-mail from Max Obuszewski that was changed to look like it was a posting on a public Web site, was obtained illegally and that the source had been obscured by a URL for the Web site Common Dreams that did not correspond to the document. Max brought in the Web page that does in fact correspond to the URL and entered it into evidence.
In addition, Mr. Warren should have been told that two of the defendants are parties in a pending lawsuit against the Maryland State Police for illegal surveillance. He might have handled the intelligence report differently.
Nice way to treat a civil servant. I told him as much at the end of the trial, saying the tainted evidence was a crappy thing to do to him (I actually used a different word for crappy). I also told him that I'd rather be a defendant than a lawyer and this could not have been easy for him. He looked misty eyed and said, "Thank you for saying that".
I wanted to say, "Hey, you're working for Voldemort. Get out while you can!"
He really did have a tough time. I wrote about his wife's response to this case in my last blog entry but failed to mention that she is a lawyer who represents plaintiffs in class action lawsuits.
I found out the next day that his wife's response had left Mr. Warren feeling worse, so he decided to call his mother. When he described the case to her, she said to him, "And you're prosecuting these people?"
He just couldn't get a break.
Max made sure that it got into the court record that we thought Mr. Warren was an ethical person and we were pleased with his performance as our prosecutor and we suspected absolutely no misconduct on his part.
Like I said, he is an honorable and decent man.
© 2008 Daily Gazette