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Dan Choi Hub



04/19/2007


Activists Arrested in White House 'DADT' Protest Reunited This Morning in Support of Lt. Dan Choi: PHOTO

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(image robin mcgehee facebook)

Powerful pictures from in front of the White House this morning as the 13 activists arrested on November 15, 2010 after chaining themselves to the White House fence in opposition of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' reunited in support of Lt. Dan Choi, who faces a judge this morning.

As I mentioned earlier this week, Choi faces 6 months in prison or a $5,000 fine for an obscure infraction of Parks and Wildlife federal regulations. The 12 other activists accepted a plea deal, agreeing to a guilty plea in federal court for which they would serve no jail time if not re-arrested within four months. Choi would not accept the deal.

Lt. Dan Choi, Cpl. Evelyn Thomas, Cadet Mara Boyd, Michael Bedwell, Scott Wooledge, Staff Sgt. Miriam Ben-Shalom, Sgt. Ian Finkenbinder, Robin McGehee, and Spc. Robert Smith are the 'White House 13' members pictured in these photos, posted to Facebook by McGehee, along with additional supporters. They then marched to an 8 am rally in front of the courthouse

Said Thomas when asked why she chose to attend Choi's trial, via press release:

"Dan is an honorable combat veteran who, when our nation came calling, stood the ground for many Americans, and not once did he ask them what was their ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, or sexual orientation. I truly believe that he knows and practices that all humans are of value, and that all humans are made in the image of God. As a minister for the Century Project Veterans, I stand behind him as a person of God knowing that he exemplifies the true meaning of 'Love Thy Neighbor.'"

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Lt. Dan Choi's Trial to Resume; 'DADT' Activist Could Get 6 Months Jail for Peaceful White House Protest: VIDEO

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Lt. Dan Choi's trial, which began in August 2011 for protesting "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" with 12 other activists on November 14, 2010, resumes on Thursday in federal court in Washington D.C.

Choi and the others chained themselves to the White House fence while chanting "I am somebody," "We do this for you" and "President Obama, Silent Homophobia."

Choi faces 6 months in prison or a $5,000 fine for an obscure infraction of Parks and Wildlife federal regulations. The 12 other activists accepted a plea deal, agreeing to a guilty plea in federal court for which they would serve no jail time if not re-arrested within four months. Choi would not accept the deal.

TatchellBritish activist Peter Tatchell is coming to Washington D.C. in support of Choi, attending the trial as a human rights observer.

Said Tatchell in a press release:

Generally, White House protestors are arrested and required to pay $100 fine to a municipal court, the equivalent of a parking ticket in the District of Columbia. Instead, in this case, the US Attorney’s Office is invoking a seldom-used federal level criminal charge called "Failure to Obey".

Choi’s case is the first time since anti-Iraq war protester Cindy Sheehan was prosecuted, that a protestor has been tried federally for demonstrating at the White House. 

The trial Judge, John M. Facciola, has already made a prima facie finding for "vindictive prosecution" in Lt. Choi’s case, prompting the prosecution to make legal history by pausing the trial for two years and embroiling Lt. Choi in a Writ of Mandamus fight.

Until this trial, such a radical and rarely used writ has never been granted in the middle of criminal proceedings. The writ orders the trial judge not to hear evidence concerning the selective prosecution and political targeting of the defendant.

Activists and supporters are planning peaceful actions in support of Choi on Thursday morning beginning with a meditation and interfaith prayer at 8 am and a speaking rally. Organizers report that several civil rights leaders will be on hand to voice support for Choi's efforts. The trial resumes at 9 am. Those wishing to support Choi should gather at:

United States District Court 
E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse 
333 Constitution Avenue, NW

You can also find out how to get involved to support Choi at the website DADTprotest.com.

Choi talks about where he is in his case with Adam Kokesh, AFTER THE JUMP...

Wh_choi

Continue reading "Lt. Dan Choi's Trial to Resume; 'DADT' Activist Could Get 6 Months Jail for Peaceful White House Protest: VIDEO" »


Lt. Dan Choi Ejected from Bradley Manning Trial, Thrown Off Base: VIDEO

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Lt. Dan Choi, who was thrown out of the courtroom at the Bradley Manning trial, talks about his view of the proceedings as a "show trial". Olbermann agrees that it is "ridiculous even by military standards".

FireDogLake has a report on Choi's ejection from the trial and the base, during which the rank was ripped from his uniform:

Choi, a West Point graduate, went to the Manning trial because “soldiers stand up for integrity, and if the code of ethics and army values are important, then we should support Bradley Manning.” He added that Manning’s actions were not only in the interest of his unit, but also in the interest of the country. “He believed that our country as a whole needed to have integrity. The law of land warfare says that if a soldier sees a crime — a rape or a murder — it’s their responsibility to report it. As I understood it, he brought it up to the chain of command. The chain of command knew about it, and they were the ones who were in violation of the law of land warfare. To not report it is to be complicit. He was the only soldier in the chain of command to do the right thing, so that’s why we have to support him.”

Watch Choi's appearance on Olbermann, in which he discusses the trial, and his ejection, AFTER THE JUMP...

And if you're following the trial, there are several updates HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Continue reading "Lt. Dan Choi Ejected from Bradley Manning Trial, Thrown Off Base: VIDEO" »


Towleroad Guide to the Tube #983

ADAP: AIDS Drug Assistance Programs facing the worst funding crisis in history.

VERBAL VOGUEING: Louis Virtel meets Taylor Lautner at the mall.

DAN CHOI: At Occupy Los Angeles.

W.E.: The trailer for Madonna's new film.

For recent Guides to the Tube, click HERE.


Dan Choi Trial Halted After Judge Allows Defense Argument That Govt Singled Choi Out for 'Vindictive Prosecution'

Dan Choi's trial yesterday was halted for a 10-day delay yesterday after U.S. Magistrate Judge John Facciola said he would allow Choi's lawyers to argue that the government singled Choi out for "vindictive prosecution." The government will now ask a higher court to quash that order.

Wh_choi MetroWeekly has been following the case closely:

Facciola said this morning that he had found there was prima facie evidence for "vindictive prosecution," meaning enough evidence was presented to allow Choi's lawyers to pursue such a claim. As a result, Choi's lawyers would be able to ask for more documents and evidence from the government in order to investigate if higher-level officials advised their subordinates to try Choi in federal court rather than D.C. court and, if so, why.

2_choi Some additional fascinating coverage by John Riley here:

Under oath, Beck testified that immediately prior to Choi's March 2010 arrest, he had instructed Choi and former Capt. James Pietrangelo to leave the White House sidewalk. Under cross-examination by Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela George, Beck said he believes the ledge on which the White House fence rests -- and where the two men were standing -- can be considered part of the sidewalk. He also said that since the men were not moving when they chained themselves to the fence, they were violating the regulation that allows protesters to demonstrate in front of the White House as long as they keep moving.

However, Beck also said he had spoken with someone from the D.C. Attorney General's Office who had told him the Attorney General did not consider the fence ledge to be part of the White House sidewalk. In July 2010, the D.C. Attorney General's Office dismissed charges against Choi and Pietrangelo for that reason.

When Beck was on the stand, he said he refrains from using "slanderous" terms such as "gay" or "homosexual," a statement that Choi's lawyers jumped on as soon as the court dismissed for a short mid-morning break.

"I believe that because Lt. Dan Choi is a homosexual war veteran dressed in full military regalia, he was unfortunately selected or singled out to be arrested and prosecuted," lead defense attorney Robert Feldman told reporters at the break. "To this day, the prosecution had to be literally forced to notice Lt. Choi and Capt. Pietrangelo's rank. Today, Capt. Phil Beck refused to acknowledge their rank. This fact, with his revelation that he believes 'gay' and 'homosexual' to be slanderous terms, shows, in my view, that this public servant is a homophobe, and, in my view, the record bears this out."

Choi lawyer Norman Kent offered a take to MW following what went down: "The government is throwing a fourth quarter 'Hail Mary' pass that God is going to knock down," Kent said. "It's the most remarkable act of desperation that I've ever seen in 35 years of practice."


Dan Choi Testifies for More Than Three Hours in 'DADT' Trial

Lt. Dan Choi testified for three hours yesterday in the trial over his arrest at the White House after protesting the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, MetroWeekly reports:

2_choi On the stand, Choi said the First Amendment provides for the right of people to petition the government for a redress of grievances, which also, he said, is a moral responsibility of patriotic Americans. Choi responded under questioning by Feldman that he believed his actions were a form of speech, and that the government did not have a right to censor them by arresting him.

At times, Choi raised his voice and spoke in such a tone that he almost seemed close to shouting, especially when asked about his arrest. Under cross-examination by Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela George, he compared the various protests against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to the 1960 sit-in by students in Greensboro, N.C., at a Woolworth’s department store and said he was “insulted” by his prosecution on federal charges.

“The November 15th arrest is surprising in my mind,” Choi said, comparing the tactics used by police officers to remove him from the fence and transport him to the police wagon to procedures taught to soldiers in war. Choi said his left arm had been twisted and he could not feel his index finger for two weeks afterward, statements he said were reinforced by videos showing his arrest.

The AP adds:

"The right to speak on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves is more than a privilege," said Choi, his voice rising with emotion during a cross-examination that turned confrontational at times. "It's a moral responsibility and I take that seriously."

Choi said he could not recall details of his arrest, but likened the scene to a "combat zone" and recalled being struck by what he considered to be aggressive and demeaning tactics by the U.S. Park Police officers who showed up.

Choi's trial began on Monday. Choi faces 6 months in prison or a $5,000 fine for an obscure infraction of Parks and Wildlife federal regulations. Twelve other activists accepted a plea deal, agreeing to a guilty plea in federal court for which they would serve no jail time if not re-arrested within four months. Choi would not accept the deal.


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