Trial of the Four Embassy Protectors Ends with a Deadlocked Jury

The four embassy protectors facing prosecution by the Trump administration for staying in the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, DC last spring to protect it from a takeover by a US-led coup faction had a four-day trial in federal court that concluded on Friday, February 14. After the US government presented its case, the four protectors decided not to present a defense because they believed the government did not prove they were guilty. The government was required to prove that beyond a reasonable doubt the four protectors interfered, obstructed and resisted the State Department’s efforts to protect the embassy and that they did it knowingly and willfully.

Due to the limitations placed on what could be discussed in the courtroom in front of the jury, the government’s case raised more questions than it provided answers. The jury began deliberations on Thursday at lunchtime and deliberated from 9:00 in the morning on Friday until almost 4:00 pm. Halfway through Friday, the jury declared they were deadlocked but the judge encouraged them to continue trying to reach a unanimous verdict. Four hours later, the jury stated that they were “hung” and the judge ruled a mistrial.

Here is a statement given by the four protectors with some supporters outside the courthouse.

While a mistrial is better than finding the four guilty, they are not through with the process. The judge ordered the four to return to court on Friday, February 28 at 9:30 am so the government can decide whether to drop the charges or try the case again. The four defenders with the support of their legal team and this defense committee are making preparations for a likely second prosecution.

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4 Comments

  1. So glad you won’t be hauled off to prison or forced to pay a huge fine for doing what so many of us would have been glad to do — supporting the right of the government of Venezuela (regardless of what WE think of THEIR president!) to maintain an embassy in DC, threatened with takeover by the forces of a US-selected faux “president”.
    Your case is important and the efforts of all the Embassy Protectors have been SO courageous!
    If they decide to re-litigate the case against you, they will be sorry — and we will continue to stand by you all!
    Abrazos, todos!

  2. All a second trial would bring is to have more of the American people and the world be aware of the crimes of US Empire at home and abroad. All you need is 1 or 2 jurors of conscious to prevent a consensus, if the second trial is also a loss, the US Empire will look pathetically weak. The US Empire would also lose a win, that is, it would show the length the truth has to be covered up in order for a conviction to be made against 4 exemplary defendants, who had enough, and stood up to those who would violate international law and try to instigate war. In this case the truth would set you free, therefore the State has to use the legal guise of relevancy to cover up the truth, even when that truth is extremely relevant to the motivation behind the brave acts of the 4, and the circumstances that led them to take part in those acts. The smart move would be for the State to not draw this out, all it does is give more sympathy and support for our causes, shines a light on their crimes which they would rather have in the dark. None of the youth, who lead movements for change, tend to watch the so-called mainstream. The alternative press has a huge audience, and they are closely watching this case. A documentary is being made on this case and what transpired last year. If the State wants to pursue this, it will be unwise for them, and only make our movement stronger. The 4 are fighters, they fight for justice and do not fear what befalls them, the fact there was a mistrial shows that a few can standup to the Goliath of the system, and still not fall. To me a loss of a second trial would not be a loss at this point, but a victory, it would expose the lengths deception has to be made, to trick jurors. However, jurors can recant. Sentences can be made, however the people knowing the truth can bring an indignation we can only begin to imagine. As Lincoln said, you can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all the people all the time. Let this be a lesson for us all.

  3. At least it is not really BAD news. Very weird conditions for the info given to the jury! Will look forward to more re what was presented in court, but it looks as if it was strange! Good for some of the jury not to go along with the weirdness!

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