By Jonathan Tamari, Washington Bureau @JonathanTamari | firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON — For nearly a year, Philadelphians Jennifer Armento and Oliver Harris feared that their lives could be stained for joining an Inauguration Day protest against President Trump.
Encircled in a mass arrest that Jan. 20 morning after some people in their anti-fascist, anti-capitalist march smashed
windows and clashed with police blocks from the White House, the two were among nearly 200 charged with felonies — though prosecutors had no evidence they personally destroyed anything, encouraged anyone to do so, or aided the people who did.
On Thursday, Armento and Harris exhaled with relief: A jury found them not guilty, along with four co-defendants, of all charges in the first trial of those arrested that day. All faced felony counts for property damage and misdemeanors for rioting and conspiracy to riot.
Their nearly four-week trial in District of Columbia Superior Court was nationally watched as a test of the boundaries of free speech, and possibly a harbinger for the dozens of people, including several more from Philadelphia, awaiting trials on the same charges. First Amendment advocates worried that the sweeping prosecutions could chill protests.
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Source: The Inquirer online