As you may already know, early this week members of the RNC 8 were notified that they are now facing three new felony counts for a total of four. Along with their previous charge, Conspiracy to Commit Riot in the Second Degree in Furtherance of Terrorism, they are now facing: Conspiracy to Commit Riot in the Second Degree, Conspiracy to Commit Criminal Damage to Property in Furtherance of Terrorism, and Conspiracy to Commit Criminal Damage to Property.
Bob Fletcher, the Ramsey County Sheriff's office, and Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner would have you interpret this development as an affirmation of their guilt resulting from strong new evidence against them. On the contrary, the amended complaint from the prosecutor's office offers up no new evidence for these charges - it merely refers back to the same material they've been using all along, but now with the alleged crime articulated four different ways. The prosecution does not have a strong case. They know this and so, in the absence of a certain conviction, they must resort to prosecutorial games meant to cloud public perception and to ensnare the 8 in a web of overlapping charges, hoping to confuse jurors into falling back on a single conviction in the face of too many possibilities.
In short, these new charges have been hoisted on their backs in an effort to terrorize the RNC 8 and hedge the weakness of the States case. Knowing that the "evidence" alone will not win a conviction, the sheriff and county attorney are grasping at straws, hoping to construct the illusion of guilt and turn the jury pool against the 8 before trial even begins. Unfortunately for the State, the RNC 8 have the strength of all their supporters behind them, and with that, will maneuver through whatever mind games the State throws their way.
In addition to these new charges, the Prosecutor's office is attempting to obtain a court order to keep the RNC 8 from sharing information about their case - both amongst ourselves and with others. We believe that access to the media and the freedom to share information as their defense necessitates are fundamental elements of a functional court process, and are appalled at the prosecution's attempt to limit our ability to execute an adequate defense. As Bob Fletcher, John Harrington, and Dave Titus grandstand about those nasty, violent protesters and wield unfounded allegations Gaertner's office is attempting to bureaucratically gag the RNC 8 and keep the truth from the people of Minnesota. Today, even as the prosecution attempted to silence the RNC 8 through a court order, Susan Gaertner released her own statement to the press once again defaming our character in an attempt to taint the jury pool.
We will not stand for slander and we will not stand by quietly and let this gang of thugs in badges write the history books.
The RNC 8 are scheduled on January 26th for a motion hearing. More analysis and details of today's events will be available at www.rnc8.org.
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