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DOJ drops charges against 129 people involved in anti-Trump protests

[JURIST] The office of the US Attorney for the District of Columbia [official website] announced [text, PDF] Thursday that it was dropping charges against 129 people arrested in the Inauguration Day protests, proceeding with charges against 59 defendants.

During President Donald Trump's inauguration, more than 200 people were arrested on charges ranging from urging or inciting a riot, engaging in a riot and destruction of property.

Prosecutors said the decision was made "in light of the legal rulings by the court and the jury's verdicts in the first trial of these cases," which found the first six defendants to stand trial not guilty.

In the document, the US Attorneys Office stated they are focusing their "efforts on prosecuting those defendants who: (1) engaged in identifiable acts of destruction, violence, or other assaultive conduct; (2) participated in the planning of the violence and destruction; and/or (3) engaged in conduct that demonstrates a knowing and intentional use of the black-bloc tactic on January 20, 2017, to perpetrate, aid or abet violence and destruction."

The term black-bloc is significant, in that it was used by organizers to plan the protest, and "is frequently used when participants within the larger black-bloc group intend to commit violence or destruction of property."

By dropping charges, the government plans to expedite the trials and "requests that the court consolidate certain trial dates given this significant development."

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