Wait, You Mean James O'Keefe Videos DON'T Hold Up In A Court Of Law????
It's a classic look
The attempt by federal prosecutors to get vengeance on VIOLENT LEFTIST PROTESTERS who ruined Donald Trump's inauguration faces yet another sad setback. The DC police rounded up hundreds of protesters on inauguration day 2017, and prosecutors claimed they were all very definitely part of what was actually a small group of anarchist folks who broke windows, burned a limo, and probably herded at least a million spectators from Donald Trump's coronation just to keep him from having a bigger turnout than Obama did. As the Daily Beast reports, prosecutors may now be losing another key part of their already dubious case.
The prosecutions were pretty flimsy from the get-go, with a mass indictment against 200 people relying on "evidence" like demonstrators wearing black or chanting slogans deemed "anti-capitalist":
So far, the case hasn’t held up in court. The first six defendants were tried in December and cleared of all charges. Shortly thereafter, prosecutors dropped the charges against 129 more defendants. But dozens remain charged.
Ah, but there was an ace in the hole for the cases against the dozens of protesters still facing charges. The prosecutors had one of James O'Keefe's crappy undercover "sting" videos from "Project Veritas" (Latin for "Truly Not Harvard"), which showed PROOF of some leftist protest leaders conspiring to do mayhem, like putting stinky barf-smelly butyric acid into the ventilation system of the "DeploraBall" gathering for far-right Trump supporters, or maybe even throwing the stuff on attendees themselves. So obviously, anyone who marched with that group, which called itself "J20," had to be part of the conspiracy.
Bit of a problem there: During the discovery phase of the case, the prosecutors were supposed to share all their evidence to the defense attorneys, and under what's known as the Brady rule had to let the defense know of any exculpatory evidence. With the Project Verdigris videos, the prosecution claimed, wrongly, that the only edits to the videos were to remove the faces of the O'Keefe "reporter" and of an undercover cop who was also at the meeting. Not quite!
At least one potentially exculpatory section had been completely edited from the video. In the removed clip, a Project Veritas agent undercut part of the prosecution’s argument.
“I was talking with one of the organizers from the IWW [Industrial Workers of the World] and I don’t think they know anything about any of the upper echelon stuff,” the Project Veritas employee said in the removed clip.
The line is critical because prosecutors have eyed the IWW, a leftist union, as an instigator for the protest, Shadowproof previously reported. A number of the remaining defendants are IWW members, and IWW records were seized from defendants’ cell phones and entered as evidence in the case.
Oopsies. A Project Vore Porn "reporter" openly saying the people they'd talked to had no knowledge of a conspiracy definitely seems to undercut the conspiracy charges, just maybe. This is nonetheless something of a landmark in the long career of James O'Keefe's lies: For once, it looks like someone else deceptively edited one of his videos.
As the Intercept first reported, sharp-eyed defense attorneys noted the footage used by the prosecution differed from what was already on Project Venality's website, and cried foul, which will happen if you're a shitty prosecutor doing shitty things, and filed a Don't Piss On My Boots And Say It's Raining brief with the court Tuesday.
“The government has abused its power by hiding discovery from all defendants,” attorneys for the defendants wrote in a motion, “purposefully choosing not to disclose Brady information, and calling into question the integrity of all of its third-party video evidence and proffers in open court.”
That filing went to Robert Morin, Chief Judge of the DC Superior Court. (Morin oversees motions in the case, but is not directly presiding.) Morin ruled that prosecutors had violated the Brady rule by repeatedly hiding the video’s edits from defendants.
Not only does that ruling mean the prosecution can be sanctioned -- with some as-yet undetermined action, like maybe being grounded for a week without the surveillance van -- Morin also gave a serious tongue-lashing to an assistant US attorney who had tried to claim the prosecution didn't do anything wrong, honest:
“Do you want me to rule on the sanction right now?” Morin asked the assistant attorney, according to Unicorn Riot.
Morin also raised the possibility of subpoenaing Project Veritas on the matter. The conservative group said they’d show up in court, if ordered.
Stephen Gordon, a spokesperson for Project Does My Ass Look Verifat, told the Daily Beast that any problems with how the prosecution might be using his group's oeuvre were "obviously beyond our purview," but that Project Furrytoes would of course continue to cooperate with "any lawful order we receive from the court."
Of course, as one of the defendants, Elizabeth Lagesse, pointed out, the prosecution has already shown the Project Vanitas vid to the jury for one group of defendants.
So now what do they do? Do they try to cure that by telling the jury to ignore something they spent half a day watching and hearing about from a witness?
Defense attorneys are considering a motion for a mistrial. Failing that, how about a truth-in-labeling lawsuit barring O'Keefe from ever calling what he does "journalism" again.
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