Via press release:
On March 28, Lt. Choi will defend himself in a rare criminal trial at the federal level for peaceful protest. The charges are “failure to obey a lawful order” by the US Park Police for protesting in front of the White House — a zone famous for free speech, assembly and petition for redress of grievance. Lt. Choi fought overseas for our freedoms and is now being persecuted by the federal government for fighting for equal rights on American soil.
The prosecution demands the maximum punishment of 6 months in federal prison for an offense that normally amounts to a parking ticket. The trial has already made legal history in the arena of Criminal Procedure and the Writ of Mandamus: on the 3rd day of the trial in 2011, the Judge found a prima facie case of vindictive prosecution against the protestors and LGBT soldiers, the case was moved up to Federal Court through a Writ of Mandamus to prevent a lower court from deciding in Lt. Choi’s favor.
Lt. Choi will be joined in court by friends, including London-based international human rights expert Peter Tatchell, who will be attending as a human rights observer. Tatchell said: “This looks like a petty, vindictive prosecution. Dan Choi was arrested for protesting peacefully against a homophobic military policy that is now repealed. He helped draw public attention to a grave injustice and contributed to it being ended. Dan is a human rights hero. It makes no sense to continue with his trial. This prosecution is morally wrong and a waste of taxpayers’ dollars.”
There is a ton of gay press already in DC and I’m sure we’ll get some good coverage of Choi’s trial.