16:57, December 21 136 0 abajournal.com

2017-12-21 16:57:05
Trial of first group of Inauguration Day protesters ends with acquittals

Jurors in Washington, D.C., have acquitted six Inauguration Day protesters on charges of rioting and property destruction.

The protesters were the first group tried among nearly 200 people still facing charges, BuzzFeed News reports. A Washington Post story says the acquittals are “a victory not only for the defendants but also for advocates who argued the government overreached” in protester prosecutions.

The defendants included a freelance photographer, a nurse and a doctoral student.

Police had said protesters wore dark clothing and hid their faces to make it more difficult to identify them.

Prosecutors said there was no evidence the six defendants personally participated in vandalism, but they provided cover for those who destroyed property, according to the Post. Their behavior was similar to that of a getaway driver, U.S. Attorney Rizwan Qureshi had argued.

A judge had tossed a felony count of inciting a riot against the defendants before the trial began.

Prosecutors reached plea deals with 20 other people and dropped charges against another 20.