Free at Last!

By Jon Gold
July 12, 2010
http://peaceoftheaction.org/2010/07/12/free-at-last/

They tried and tried to put the glove on, but it just didn't fit. I kid, I kid.

On March 20th 2010, I was arrested for crossing a police line. Today, I was acquitted for the crime, along with Cindy Sheehan, and Jim Veeder. Sadly, Matthis Chiroux, Elaine Brower, and Lafloria Walsh were found guilty of failing to obey.

This was my first arrest and trial so all of this was new to me. Before the trial began, our lawyers and the prosecutor tried to work things out so there wouldn't be a trial. The prosecutor offered a "pay and forfeit" without any conviction, and all of us declined. We stood our ground, and wanted the chance to clear our names. We felt strongly that our arrests were unjust, and wanted our day in court.

Cindy told me a couple of times before the trial that it was going to be boring, and it was. The only "excitement" came when Elaine, Laflora, and Cindy were allowed to testify. Everyone did great. When Casey was brought up, Cindy started to cry. I leaned over to Ann Wilcox (one of our attorneys, Mark Goldstone was the other), and said I want to testify. I wanted to come to the aid of Cindy because I was angry that she was made to cry, and the thought, "WTF?!? Hasn't she been through enough already?" went through my mind. I was told that my testifying wouldn't do any good, so I declined. I'm glad I didn't testify, because if I did, I most assuredly would have been found guilty. I wanted to say, "yes, I crossed the police line, but that's because the police were manhandling Cindy, and I wanted to keep an eye on her." I think the only reason I got off was because there was no video of me going under the police line. If I did testify, I would have probably ruined it for everyone else.

The first to be acquitted was Jim Veeder. They clearly had no evidence that he ever crossed a police line, so he was let go. That was early in the day.

After the prosecutor and defense were finished, and the time came for the judge to make his decisions, I thought for sure we were all going to be convicted. The first words the judge said had to do with the prosecution proving things "beyond a reasonable doubt," so I thought for sure we were done. I pulled out my prepared statement to read in the event I was convicted, and had it ready to go. Much to my surprise, I never got to read it, which was kind of a disappointment, but I did get to read it during the press conference we had this morning, so all is good.

I was the second to be let go, and Cindy was the third. The case against Cindy seemed strong enough that she was going to be convicted, but the judge seemed to be on her side. She was completely surprised when she was acquitted. I'm glad the judge was at least able to do that for her. A late birthday present.

A handful of people came to support us today, and I want to say thank you all. I told Cindy today that "we know some really special people," and we do. My sincerest thanks for your support.

I want to especially thank Mark Goldstone and Ann Wilcox for working extremely hard over the past couple of months, building our cases, and making sure we knew which end was up. You should both be proud of yourselves for what you accomplished today.

Whether you were convicted, or acquitted today, you all shared in a victory for the first amendment, and that is something that can be celebrated by all.

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