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'Bangor Six' Acquitted

The "Bangor Six," six of the 12 people arrested in March 2007 for protesting the Iraq War at Senator Susan Collins's Bangor office, were acquitted yesterday in Penobscot County Superior Court. Deirdre wrote a piece about the situation in this week's paper, but the trial hadn't wound up by the time we went to press.

We've written about arrests at protests before, including a discussion of the differences between Collins and US Representative Tom Allen, who will challenge Collins for her seat in November if he gets past primary challenger Tom Ledue.

But this case is interesting - a jury acquitted the six defendants. Jurors said they believed that the protestors' statements that they had the right to be in the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building in Bangor even though police asked them to leave and arrested them when they didn't.

Penobscot County District Attorney Chris Almy told the Bangor Daily News he would have to reconsider how to handle these cases in the future; one option was to refer them to federal prosecutors. Maine's chief federal prosecutor, US Attorney Paula Silsby, told the BDN that she was not sure she had jurisdiction to handle the cases, but did recall federal charges being pursued against protestors in a Portland federal building some years back.

So while they have won the day, protestors at future sit-ins might face stiffer charges in the future.

Maine Public Broadcasting
's AJ Higgins has an excellent story that bears listening to. Here's the audio stream, complete with psychedelic video:

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