Today I had my day in court.
On February 17th, I was arrested after saying "The American people voted to end the war in Iraq" as I was walking out of the Senate gallery. The Senate was debating the non-binding resolution to admonish Bush's "troop surge", and I felt obligated to speak truth to power in order to remind America's elected officials that they were largely ignoring the will of the People.
So, after months and months of delays, I finally got my jury trial. My lawyer argued that I really didn't disrupt anything because I did not interrupt any Senators speaking. He did his best to convey that I did not intend to disrupt the business the Senate. However, the jury did not take long to find me guilty for Disruption of Congress.
I was a little disappointed, but I must say that I did not regret what I had done in the Senate on that day in February... the Senator's needed to hear those words. In fact, the good thing about my trial is that the prosecution was forced to repeat my words, "The American people voted to end the war in Iraq" over and over again... those words are forever in the court record!
Anyway, the prosecutor told the judge I should be put on probation and should serve 5 days in jail.
I got a chance to speak to the judge, and I told her that although I did not want to go to jail, I respected that I was found guilty of a crime that required her to punish me. I also promised her that I would not speak in the Senate again until I was elected by the people of Missouri to the United States Senate.
The judge said she would hold me to my promise that I would only speak in the Senate when I am an elected official. She also said it seemed clear to her that I broke the law, but it wasn't really much of a violation, and that she felt the decision could have gone either way depending on the particular jury. In the end, she fined me the maximum fine of $500 and told me that if I ever came back to her court under similar charges, she would make sure I served REAL jail time if I were convicted.
This blog is pretty much done, but I do want to say that a whole bunch of my friends were there to support me... CODEPINK women and our allies are the greatest people in earth!!! The good news in all this is that the judge said that my "stay away" order would be vacated when my fine was paid... and it literally blew me away when Ann Wright came up to me with the entire amount of the fine for which all of my great friends had pitched in to pay. So, we marched right up to the finance office and paid the fine!
So, now I am off to give a presentation at a conference in Vermont tomorrow, then will continue traveling the east coast lecturing to college students in my Transforming Traditional Politics tour.
Keep the faith...
Peace & Freedom