The third day of the D17 trial concluded on Wednesday, June 13, with the prosecution resting their case and the defense set to present theirs Thursday morning. The trial will determine the guilt of eight Occupy Wall Street activists charged with misdemeanor criminal trespassing on December 17, 2011, when the defendants allegedly entered Duarte Square illegally.
The courtroom was packed for the third straight day with supporters of the defendants, who include Bishop George Packard. While many other Occupy-related cases have been dismissed, the district attorney (DA) appears to be pushing hard for convictions in this case. For Occupy, this trial could result in political activists facing up to 90 days in prison, with one defendant, Mark Adams, facing additional charges. Some speculate that the DA is hoping to make an example of one or more of the defendants, while activists continue to insist they will not be deterred.
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The prosecution finished its case by calling NYPD Officer James Louie, who arrested five people on D17, two of whom are defendants in the case. The officer at one point seemed to contradict himself when he stated he didn’t recall seeing a set of Polaroids used to identify his arrestee, only to admit shortly afterward that he had in fact seen them when he met with Assistant District Attorney Lee Langston on February 2, 2012. He was also unable to recall what one of his arrestees looked like and was unable to confirm or deny whether she was in the courtroom.
All four defense attorneys made motions to dismiss after the prosecution rested, but Judge Sciarrino overruled them. At that time, defense attorney Martin Stolar made a motion for the court to dismiss defendant William Wallace-Gusakov’s case based on lack of evidence that Wallace remained in Duarte Square after entering, which the district attorney (DA) alleges. Wallace was arrested several blocks away from Duarte, at the intersection of Grand and Wooster, about an hour after the action. The judge denied this motion. According to Wallace-Gusakov, he, unlike many occupy activists arrested on that day, was not offered an ACD – adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, i.e. don’t get arrested for six months and you’re clear – or the chance to take a plea from misdemeanor to violation, or the equivalent of a ticket.
Defense attorney Paul Mills restated that he had been unable to properly cross-examine Amy Jedlicka, general counsel for Trinity Church’s real estate, and Diego Segalini, vice president of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC), because their organizations haven’t complied with a defense-issued subpoena.
Defense attorney Gideon Oliver asked the court for relief – to force the parties to comply with the subpoena – which Judge Sciarrino said he could not do. Oliver described the decision as, “disappointing and it hampers our ability to put forward a line of defense we believe is credible.”
Assistant DA Ryan Haywood produced a letter saying Trinity and LMCC believed they had complied with the subpoena.
The requested materials in the subpoena included documentation as to Jedlicka’s status as custodian of Duarte Square and, therefore, her ability to determine who could be lawfully excluded from the square. Other requested material included documentation as to the announcement of the closure of the square, which the defense contests was not made publicly.
Stolar also mentioned in court that a client of his in a separate case, Shawn Carrie, was photographed by NYPD officials after entering the courtroom on Tuesday. Judge Sciarrino said he was unaware of such an action, but that he would not have allowed it had his permission been asked.
Defendant and stand-up comedian Ted Alexandro described the last three days as, “a bit surreal; alternately amusing, interesting and numbing. The support has been palpable and very much appreciated.”
The defense will begin their case tomorrow in Jury 7 at 9:30 AM.