On Thursday, chastened prosecutors dropped felony charges that several anti-Trump protesters were facing for their involvement in the #DisruptJ20 march on Inauguration Day 2017, ThinkProgress reports. At press time, ThinkProgress had reported that charges were dropped against seven people, while the Daily Beast reported six.*
The prosecution's case for the charges hinged on videos taken by Project Veritas, a right-wing activist group that attempts to embarrass progressives and journalists in undercover sting operations. Prosecutors are accused of concealing dozens of recordings and misrepresenting edits to others in order to hide exculpatory evidence from the court.
"They have offered no explanation why they did not apprise the court of the existence of these videos," Chief Judge Robert Morin said, according to ThinkProgress.
Prosecutors may still choose to pursue misdemeanor charges for rioting and property damage against the defendants. Additionally, more than 50 other people still stand accused of the felony rioting charges; it remains uncertain whether today's ruling will affect those charges.
While the charges were being dismissed, ThinkProgress reports, the closing arguments of a different trial for #DisruptJ20 defendants was taking place on another floor of the Washington, D.C., courthouse.
A D.C. police officer who testified in the case was photographed walking out of the courthouse wearing a shirt that read "Police Brutality... or Doing What Their Parents Should Have."
*Update—May 31, 2018: This story has been updated to reflect a discrepancy in reporting regarding the number of protesters whose charges were dismissed.