The eight members of the RNC Welcoming Committee are believed to be the first persons ever charged under the 2002 Minnesota version of the federal Patriot Act. The activists face up to seven and a half years in prison.
Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner announced the charges at a press conference on Wednesday.
According to the National Lawyers Guild, the criminal complaints filed by the Ramsey County Attorney do not allege that any of the defendants personally engaged in any act of violence or damage to property. Instead authorities are seeking to hold the eight defendants responsible for acts committed by other individuals during the opening days of the Republican National Convention.
Most of the activists were arrested over the weekend in pre-emptive house raids.
None of the defendants have any prior criminal history involving acts of violence.
Authorities are basing their case on paid informants who infiltrated the group. The eight activists charged are Monica Bicking, Eryn Trimmer, Luce Guillen Givins, Erik Oseland, Nathanael Secor, Robert Czernik, Garrett Fitzgerald, and Max Spector.
Two guests join me here in St. Paul, Minnesota. Bruce Nestor is the President of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. David Bicking is the father of Monica Bicking, one of the eight activists charged with conspiracy to riot in furtherance of terrorism. David Bicking lives in Minneapolis.
Dave Bicking, father of Monica Bicking.
Bruce Nestor, President of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.LISTEN ONLINE
The Ramsey County Court has begun to slowly process and release some of the nearly 300 people detained over the past few days. These include medics, legal observers, journalists, and anyone considered to be a protester. Democracy Now! producer Anjali Kamat filed this report with Elizabeth Press.LISTEN ONLINE