"The Movement Is Winning": Alleged Ringleader In Statue Attacks Claims Victory In Public Comments
Added 07-04-20 07:55:03am EST - “We have been discussing the case of Jason Charter, the George Washington University student who is alleged by the government to be the "ringleader" of the attack on the statue of Andrew?” - Jonathanturley.org
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We have been discussing the case of Jason Charter, the George Washington University student who is alleged by the government to be the “ringleader” of the attack on the statue of Andrew Jackson near the White House. He is also of participating in the destruction of the statue of Confederate leader Albert Pike in Washington on June 19th. This case raises some difficult questions over the admissibility of his political views. However, he may be making that issue easier (and harming his case) with continued comments on an unverified Tweeter account where he continues to support Antifa and claim victory. The public comments raise the possibility of an effort to trigger a politically-infused case like the “Chicago Eight” prosecution after the 1968 Democratic National Convention. These comments have greater value in rallying supporters than building a defense.
Many on campus have been discussing the Charter case and how it may play out in federal court. The fact that the alleged “ringleader” of the recent attack on the monument is a GWU student came as a surprise for many. However, Antifa has long had a presence on our campus, including a 2017 incident where Charter appears to have had a confrontation with the very same conservative journalist in a government video from 2020.
Again, 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.
Faced with these charges, most defendants would be cautioned to avoid public statements. However, soon after his arrest, Twitter comments from Charter began to appear. While the account is unverified, there has been no denial that these are the comments of Charter and the account links to a defense fund for him.
My concern when Charter was charged was that prosecutors would use political views to taint a case, particularly when you have an association with an extremist group like Antifa. Whether or not such statements are admissible at trial, as discussed in the earlier posting, they could play a role in pre-trial motions in key issues of admissibility.
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