On October 4, 2019, the four Embassy Protectors, who were arrested on May 16 when the US government raided the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington DC in violation of the Vienna Convention, had their third status hearing in the US District Court before Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell.
The major topics of the hearing were the status of discovery and a timeline for the rest of the process. The US government has dumped large amounts of “discovery” on the defendants consisting of police body camera footage and more than 26,000 pages of documents. A fourth discovery dump was made on the morning of the hearing.
In the previous hearing, the judge had ordered the prosecutors to provide a list of which videos they may use as evidence in the trial. In response, the prosecutors provided a list of descriptions that did not match the information given with the videos, making it virtually impossible to determine which of the hundreds of videos were relevant. The prosecutors said they intended to use up to 30 videos during the trial.
The defense counsel submitted a request for additional discovery from the government seeking documents relevant to their defense and showing they were not in violation of any laws. In the hearing, the prosecutor stated they were unlikely to provide some of the documents requested by the defense without specifying what they opposed. If the Collective’s defense team is unable to resolve the discovery dispute with the federal prosecutor, the judge will be asked to decide whether or not to order the prosecutors to comply with the defense’s requests.
After the hearing, the prosecution and defense attorneys met to establish a timeline for the remainder of the process. It looks like the trial may take place in July 2020. The timeline and date of the next status hearing will be determined by the judge depending on whether or not she accepts the attorneys’ timeline. It looks like the next hearing will be on December 13.
For now, the four defendants are required to check in with pretrial services weekly by telephone and have all their international travel pre-approved by the judge. The defendants and their attorneys are working their way through the mountain of discovery. It appears the government is making the process as difficult as possible for the defendants.
Urge the prosecutors to drop the charges – sign the petition to drop the charges here.
CALIFORNIA, October 12 to 16, 2019
October 12 – Sacramento, CA, fundraising dinner.
October 13 – Oakland, CA, public event at the Niebyl Proctor Marxist Public Library, 6501 Telegraph Ave. starting at 10:30 am.
October 13 – Santa Rosa, Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma County, 467 Sebastopol Ave., from 3:0 to 6:00 pm.
October 14 – San Jose, dinner and public forum, San Jose Peace and Justice Center, 48 South 7th St., from 6:00 to 9:00 pm.
October 16 – Berkeley, Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, 1924 Cedar St. at Bonita, from 6:00 to 9:00 pm.
ILLINOIS, October 23 to 26, 2019
October 23 – Carbondale
October 24 – Chicago
October 25 – Chicago
October 26 – Urbana, Illinois State Annual Green Party Meeting,
FLORIDA, December 5 to 8, 2019