Dan Choi Found Guilty, Fined $100 for White House ‘DADT’ Protest

Wh_choi

Dan Choi, who went back to federal court today facing six months in prison or a $5,000 fine for an obscure infraction of Parks and Wildlife federal regulations related to a November 2010 'DADT' protest at the White House, was found guilty and fined $100, the Washington Post reports:

But in court on Thursday, Choi’s erratic demeanor swung from emotional outbursts at the lectern to belligerent confrontations with a U.S. Park Police officer and the federal prosecutor. Dressed in a military uniform, Choi paced the courtroom, serving as his own lawyer.

“All I want at the end of this day is to return to the U.S. military,” Choi said through tears.

Choi, who is not trained as an attorney, alternated between whispered apologies for his teary breakdowns and loud rebukes of Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela George for failing to refer to him as a lieutenant.“Please remember where you are,” Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola cautioned after Choi used vulgar slang. “That may be appropriate in the barracks. It’s not appropriate here.”

Politic365 adds:

During the trial, Lt. Choi broke down and was carried out of the DC courtroom. He was transported to a nearby VA Hospital.

Choi was supported in court by the activists arrested with him in 2010, and by British activist Peter Tatchell. This morning Choi met his supporters at the front of the White House before heading over to his trial.

Comments

  1. GayCanuck says

    So much time and money to prosecute this guy and put him through hell all for a $100 fine. All the while Wall Street bankers who robbed the US Treasury and haven’t served their country one day are driving around in limos and taking home multi-million dollar bonuses.

    The justice system in America is a broken mess.

  2. Lars says

    I met him two years ago, and it was unsettling. I have great admiration for the things he has accomplished, and for the courageous stand he took in coming out. But I am afraid that he has issues that need to be worked out in a private and professional setting, not public. The stark glare of a national spotlight is not conducive for resolving the kinds of stuff that he needs to sort out. I wish this guy nothing but grace, peace, and love.

  3. Bob says

    I feel for him.
    However, for the right cause or not, he broke a law. Probably he could have pleaded it out, but he wanted the stage.
    Those who comment harshly about him– he had his life’s dream and purpose pulled out from under him, so I give him leeway.

  4. From a Distance says

    Does he have a partner? Family? A close friend? An attorney? His “supporters” do not seem to be of much use, because he obviously needs support of a different kind. He has been through a good deal of turmoil. I sincerely hope he finds the support he needs and is able to achieve some peace and sense of settledness in his life.

  5. Mick says

    What the hell is going on here? It sounds like he’s decompensating.

    I was so impressed with Choi in the beginning, but his strange and grandstanding behavior over time started to chip away at his credibility.

    Would you take him back if you were the military?

    I think he needs rest, not a return to duty.

  6. bandanajack says

    oh bob, could you kindly go stuff it! lt choi has great motives but as been said before, he has some serious mental health issues and the only way he seems to think he can address them is by making a martyr of himself. i think the court put this in a proper perspective, a small fine to acknowledge the larger violation he wasn’t charged for, but nothing for the picayune charge he was in court for.

    i dearly hope he is given treatment and a public time out to gather his wits and face his demons… with help. i fear for his safety. i ought not make a clinical diagnosis, but i don’t believe i would be going far out on a limb by guessing bi-polar disorder. this in no way reflects on his core nobility or deep intelligence, but he has a real dog and pony show going on in his head that he needs some relief from.

  7. Francis says

    This never should have gone this far. The “friends” who have been pushing him to pursue a show trial are probably nowhere to be found at this moment. Whatever good was accomplished with his protests is now been overwhelmed by the intense feeling of sadness and hope that he will somehow get the help he needs.

  8. Allen says

    I wish Dan all the best. Dan has experienced discrimination in a very public form and it eats you alive. He has been outspoken for our community and I appreciate him fighting the battle for all of us. I hope they leave him alone now so he can heal himself.

  9. Craig Nelson says

    Very sad. Clearly the trial was a very great strain upon him. At least the fine is relatively small. Like others said I sincerely hope there are others in his life who can give him some support and that he can get through this very tough time. I must say I do not think it is ever a good idea to forego professional representation at a trial where one’s liberty is at stake, the outcome is never usually a good one and the strain can be phenomenal.

  10. JoshLondon says

    Bottom line: White House protesters are arrested and required to pay a $100 fine.

    Choi chose to grandstand, went off the deep end and paid the same amount as everyone else.

    He is lucky he was not found in contempt but judges understand when someone is going off the rails and begging for attention, you do not give them the bully-pulpit.

    The protest is the message. Protesting an arrest which results from a protest is dumb. Those arrests are the cost of doing business.

    The goal (DADT repeal) has been reached. This is just noise.

    As for Choi, well, there is much more to this story and we all know it.

    Time to move on and, candidly, for sites like Towleroad to stop characterizing Choi’s self-immolation as martyrdom.

    He needs help along with thanks for a job well done.

  11. andrew says

    Dan’s friends and family need to seriously advise him to get some psychological help. I don’t think the military needs him back in action in what APPEARS to be his fragile psychological condition.

  12. Not that other Todd in DC says

    “During the trial, Lt. Choi broke down and was carried out of the DC courtroom. He was transported to a nearby VA Hospital.”

    hahahahahahahahahahahaha (and more ha’s that I’m just too lazy to type)

    What a genius way to put a period at the end of Choi’s seemingly endless run-on sentence carried out these last few years: a one-hundred dollar fine. It’s perfect. The court room break-down was another over-the-top attempt to the paddles back on his dying fame and revive it back into some kind of perceived relevance. Spectacularly sad.

    There’s was a reason he was a 1st Lieutenant for so long and never promoted to Captain along with his peers, and it had nothing at all to do with the fact that he’s gay.

    He was a deeply troubled junior leader in the Army and a deeply badly behaved leader in a movement that had no leaders at the time. Sometimes, you can’t choose your leaders and in a vacuum, Dan Chois happen. That is our fault, as a community. But his behavior and the choices he made are all his. He deserved to be found guilty. He violated a lawful order. And, he deserved to be finally booted from the Army because of his demonstrated inability to behave like an Army officer. He chose to accept his commission into the Army. And – sexual orientation completely aside – along with that commission and oath came a certain obligation to uphold a character of behavior he appeared incapable of doing.

    I also happen to believe he is in need of real and sustained counseling. And, truly, hope that he receives it. He had real potential at one point. I hope he regains it.

  13. MikeJ says

    For anyone who knows Dan, there is nothing any of his “friends” can do. He’s been pushed and encouraged countless times to do the right thing, but his emotional impairment and raging substance abuse issues – probably brought on by his PTSD puts him far beyond the help of his friends. What he needs is an intervention.

  14. Granite says

    Three years ago I was speaking to a friend of Choi and I expressed my concern over how the gay media and insiders create faux heroes then toss them away when a new boy strolls by and is useful to their cause of the day. Choi is another victim of American gay culture’s obession with cute young men without regard to their well being.

  15. says

    I agree with the comments here that this man, Lieu. Choi needs a good friend or some counselling or just someone to be there with him…..or something more than that. He has been through many overwrought experiences and anyone could easily crumble under such weight.

    As Mike J. says :”he needs an intervention.”

  16. Dback says

    I just wish him the best and hope he gets well soon. He gave 1,000% of himself to the military and to gay causes over the past several years, and if it’s taken a toll on him, the least we can do is be compassionate and say “Thank you.”

  17. FFS says

    Sad tho the reality may be, his mental health would be a lot better served if he’d let go of his dream to return to active service.

    The military is a lot like porn. Out of all the people that enter into it, very few have what it take to make a life-long career out of it.

  18. bambinoitalianoba says

    You know if he has a face like say Thomas Roberts or Anderson Cooper, I’m sure some of the superficial queens in here would have a different comments. We do get our share of uneducated bunch on our side.

  19. reality says

    I’ve heard dozens of stories about Choi, and I’ve seen him in person on a few occasions, and I don’t think he’s stable … and of course he should be prosecuted, he turned down a settlement that basically said “just dont get arrested for the next 3 months” … $100 is more than fair.

  20. Ryan says

    I am glad to see that comments are much generous towards Dan this time around. I feel that folks have been very critical of him in the past. I agree that he needs time out of the public spotlight to rest and recover. He has been under an enormous amount of pressure and I hope with this trial behind him he can finally focus on his personal issues. I met Dan two or three years ago when he spoke at the Boston’s Mens Event. He spent about 20 mins talking with me and I was greatly inspired. But it was also clear how much he has personally sacrificed to help our cause. Let’s give him the support he deserves and see that he pulls through this very difficult time.

  21. FancyPants says

    I have a feeling any options to reject a plea were rejected by Dan Choi and not by the prosecutors. He wanted the pulpit. He got it. And should be embarrassed.

    That said, he certainly has the right to demand a trial and reject the plea. Don’t yell that it is somehow the government’s fault.

  22. Drew says

    Considering he’s apparently glued into that uniform even when he emphatically should not be wearing it, my sympathy over a $100 fine is pretty minimal. I’m glad he brought attention to our issues (I’m gay Army too), but I could not be less of a fan of his means of doing it.

  23. says

    I don’t think that Dan did anything wrong, or that he “broke the law”. If he wants to pay and foreit, that’s fine, but he has no particular reason to “admit” he was “wrong” and pay $100, and say sorry.
    What he did is fine, is normal protest, despite the attempts of the bouncers to get him to move along.
    Or does anyone out there feel that he stepped over the bounds of behavior that our revolutionary forefathers intended?

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