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War Protester Granny Verdict Expected TodaySalem-News.com
Is it free speech or the road to terrorism?
(PORTLAND, Ore.) - A verdict is expected on Thursday, December 13th in the trial of five grandparents charged with "unlawfully and intentionally causing substantial inconvenience to the United States."
The case will be sent to the jury by Judge Richard Baldwin at 9:00 AM in room 716 of the Multnomah County Courthouse. The case stems from a silent vigil held by the Surge Protection Brigade, also know as the "Seriously Pissed Off Grannies," on Good Friday, April 6th at the US Army and Marine recruiting center on NE Broadway.
Judge Baldwin will allow the jury to consider a "lesser of evils" defense after defendants testified that they felt compelled to take action to stop the imminent danger of death to Iraqi civilians and American soldiers. Between the time of the Good Friday vigil on April 6th and December 12 an additional 621 US Service members died in Iraq.
The jury will begin deliberations Thursday morning to decide if the grandparents who are defendants used tempera paint to send a symbolic message protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, as claimed by Defense Attorney Lisa Ludwig, or if the powerful paint caused substantial inconvenience to the United States, and possibly worse as described by the District Attorney, Seth Steward.
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Steward called upon the jury to render a guilty verdict to "protect our troops." He warned the jury of the danger of a not guilty verdict: "Think of some evils that could happen," he said, "and why it is important for the line to be drawn here. On September 11 some people drove planes into a building to prove a point. The defendants say their conduct is necessary to avoid imminent danger because people dying in Iraq. That is the same thing suicide bombers say."
In his closing argument for defendant Clyde Chamberlain, Attorney Robert Callahan, told the jury that the District Attorney was trying to turn a simple bottle of red tempera paint into "a weapon of mass inconvenience."
The water soluble poster paint was used to place red handprints on the window of the Army/Marine Recruiting office at 1371 NE Broadway on April 6th 2007.
Chamberlain and the other defendants, Sara Graham, Ann Huntwork, Martha Odom and DeEtte Beghtol all testified that they were motivated by deep convictions and a sense that there was no other way to try to stop the war.
"It is not to inconvenience the recruiters" said Martha Odom, "it's a way to stand witness to folks who may not be thinking about this war, to people who know in their heart they're not doing anything about it, to let everyone know there are people deeply, profoundly opposed to the Iraq war who carry grief and rage and want it to stop."
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