Federal Judge Finds 6 DNC Protesters Guilty of Trespassing
A federal judge has found six protesters guilty of trespassing an eight-foot security fence at the Democratic National Convention last summer.
The DNC protesters were arrested on June 27th after one of them, 29-year-old Travis Martin of Houston, used a bolt cutter to get through the fence at the intersection of Broad Street and Pattison Avenue in Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park around 10:45 p.m.
The incident occurred on the third day of the DNC – the same night former president Barack Obama spoke in the Wells Fargo Center, where the DNC was held. Prosecutors argued that the trespassers were posing a risk to the former president.
Five of the defendants – 25-year-old Lincoln Bohn of California, 24-year-old Jacob Van Buskirk of Washington; 19-year-old Dan Nguyen of Maryland; 27-year-old Natalie Frazer of Washington; and 28-year-old Megan Munk of Washington – were each fined $500, Philly.com reports. The judge has deferred Martin’s sentencing until late September – his punishment could be more severe because he used the bolt cutter.
Defense attorneys argued that the DNC protesters were unaware they were entering a federally restricted area, much like four other demonstrators who scaled the fence the day prior and received federal charges that were eventually dropped. The four protesters who crossed the fence on June 26th claimed they were unaware they were entering a federally restricted area and did not realize they would face such harsh penalties – largely because, they said, City Council had passed a law ahead of the DNC that decriminalized nuisance violations.
But Senior U.S. District Judge Michael J. Baylson ruled that the second wave of fence-breaching protesters crossed a line by using the bolt cutter to enter an area that was clearly restricted.
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