GWU Student Accused Of Leading Attack On Jackson Statue
Added 07-03-20 06:55:04am EST - “We recently discussed the release of photos of suspects by the FBI of individuals connected to the attack on the statue of Andrew Jackson outside of the White House. One of those arrested is Jason ?” - Jonathanturley.org
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We recently discussed the release of photos of suspects by the FBI of individuals connected to the attack on the statue of Andrew Jackson outside of the White House. One of those arrested is Jason Charter who is described as the “ringleader.” He is also a George Washington University student and a professed supporter of Antifa. Charter is likely to be a priority prosecution for the Administration. However, his criminal case could raise some challenging issues on admissibility of evidence of his affiliations and political views.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have been a long-standing critic of Antifa due to its profoundly anti-free speech views and its history of violence against those with opposing views, though I have opposed declaring Antifa a terrorist organization. They have a history of attacking journalists, academics, and others. Indeed, I have been critical of Democratic leaders who have supported Antifa despite this history. Some professors openly support the group, including its violence.
Notably, one of the Antifa attacks on our own campus was covered by our university newspaper, The Hatchet, and one of those interviewed at the scene was Charter. It has a surprising connection to an incident referenced in the current controversy.
However, my interest in this case (other than the connection to GWU) is as a criminal defense attorney and how such political views can be admitted into evidence. There is always a concern that prosecutors will use political views to taint a case, particularly when you have an association with an extremist group like Antifa.
Charter was arrested at his home and charged with destruction of federal property. He is connected to not just the attack on the Jackson statue but the destruction of the statue of Confederate leader Albert Pike in Washington on June 19. The FBI states that news coverage shows Charter “standing over the toppled Pike Statue, pouring an unknown liquid onto the statue.” It also says that he is seen “waving others away from the statue, and squatting down behind the statue where his hands are not visible. Seconds later, the statue catches fire. Charter is said to be ‘seen standing over the flames as it burns.”
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