Seven people charged with trespass last August during a demonstration against expansion of the nuclear weapons production complex at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico have entered pleas of no contest. The pleas came instead of a trial set for February 8 in Los Alamos Magistrate's court.
Under terms of a plea agreement, the seven will pay court costs and perform ten hours of community service where they live in Idaho, California, Nevada, Arizona and Texas. The prosecutor agreed to dismiss the charge and a $100 fine in sixty days, provided each defendant reports community service and pays court costs of $73.
Two of the defendants, Jeff Freitas, 26, and Jason Ahmadi, 25, returned to Los Alamos from their homes in California and entered their pleas in person on February 8. That morning, they joined a vigil at the gates of Los Alamos National Laboratory by members of Trinity Nuclear Abolitionists and Think Outside the Bomb.
Defendants David Covey, 40, and Bryan Martin, 24, from Boise, Idaho; Lisa Fithian, 49, from Austin, Texas; Sr. Megan Rice, 80, from Las Vegas, Nevada; and Jack Cohen-Joppa, 54, from Tucson, Arizona, were allowed to change their pleas by telephone and fax. (Covey had already planned to change his plea and not go to trial.)
Prosecutor Charles Rennick had also filed a motion in limine only two days before the scheduled January 27 pre-trial motions hearing. Common to such trials of nuclear resisters, the motion sought to "exclude all defense evidence, testimony, argument and instructions relating to the defense of necessity," and thus prevent the jury from hearing, let alone considering, the intention of the arrested activists.
A proper response to this motion could not be prepared on such short notice, and would have meant an unwanted delay of the trial.
The August 6, 2010 demonstration involved over 120 people, led by Think Outside the Bomb youth at the conclusion of their ten-day Disarmament Summer encampment in nearby Chimayo. They observed the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, with a spirited march through the town and up to the gate of the plutonium processing facility.
For more information contact:
Jack Cohen-Joppa 520-3233-8697