FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON -- Today, the ACLU of the District of Columbia sent a letter to Michael Horowitz, Inspector General for the Department of Justice, calling for an investigation of the prosecutions of more than 200 political demonstrators by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Most of the demonstrators were peacefully protesting the inauguration of Donald Trump on January 20, 2017.
The letter comes two days after the president nominated Jessie K. Liu, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, who led the prosecutions, to be Associate Attorney General at the Justice Department.
The following may be attributed to Scott Michelman, Legal Co-Director, ACLU-DC:
“Liu failed to recognize the problematic nature of the prosecutions and permitted them to continue full steam. As U.S. Attorney, Liu oversaw two trials at which juries refused to convict even a single protestor, and the lead prosecutor’s withholding of evidence that could exonerate the defendants, in violation of their constitutional rights. Despite the court’s sanctioning that prosecutor for misconduct, Liu decided to promote her to section chief.
“Both the original charging decision and the choice to pursue these meritless cases to trial regardless of their serious chilling effect on freedom of expression raise serious questions about decision making within the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Why were these charges brought? Why were they pursued? Was inappropriate political influence brought to bear?
“As the Number 3 at the Justice Department, the Associate Attorney General will be tasked with protecting all Americans’ civil and constitutional rights. The Inspector General should investigate the U.S. Attorney’s Office in connection with the Inauguration Day prosecutions. The Senate should seriously question whether a U.S. Attorney who oversaw the prosecution of peaceful protestors and the violation of their due process rights should be promoted to a position whose chief role is to protect constitutional rights.”
Read the letter here. https://www.acludc.org/sites/default/files/2018_03_07_j20_to_doj_ig.pdf
The ACLU-DC’s lawsuit against the District and Metropolitan Police Department for violating Inauguration Day protestors’ First and Fourth Amendment rights on Inauguration Day remains pending. More information is available here: https://www.acludc.org/en/cases/horse-v-district-columbia