- Reporters Desk
Tracing a conspiracy between the far-right and the J20 prosecution
By Aaron Cantú
Months before DC police mass arrested people at Donald Trump’s inauguration, far-right and white supremacist personalities were already coordinating a clamp down on anti-inauguration protests. Evidence suggests that these extralegal parties, which included a top adviser and personal friend of President Trump, worked closely with law enforcement to facilitate an unprecedented prosecution of protesters, journalists and others over the next 18 months.
Assembled for the first time here is a timeline of this collusion between the far-right and state forces against the J20 defendants, based on public statements and media reports.
November 9, 2016:
Donald John Trump is elected president.
The Oath Keepers, a far-right paramilitary organization, begin to infiltrate anti-Trump protest meetings in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and possibly elsewhere.
Alt-right media personality Jack Posobiec emails Trump presidential adviser Roger Stone a report after spying on inauguration
protest planning meetings.
Roger Stone appears on Alex Jones’ conspiracy show InfoWars to discuss protest meetings.
January 8, 2017:
Operatives from the far-right organization Project Veritas make secret recordings at a DC inauguration protest planning meeting. DC police are also present.
Oath Keepers turn over some of their recordings from inauguration protest planning meetings to DC police.
A meeting about logistics at inauguration protests takes place in New York City. Project Veritas operative Allison Maas is present and records part of the meeting.
Before January 20:
Project Veritas meets with DC Metropolitan Police, FBI and Secret Service before Inauguration Day to discuss protests.
January 20 (J20):
About 240 people are mass arrested during protests at Trump’s Inauguration Day in Washington DC, and jailed for nearly 36 hours.
White nationalist Richard Spencer threatens on Twitter to dox all Inauguration Day arrestees after receiving their personal information from DC police.
The US Attorney’s Office in DC indicts 214 people for felony rioting at the inauguration. The charge carries a 10-year maximum sentence.
Aaron Cantú hired by the Santa Fe Reporter.
The US Attorney’s Office returns a superseding indictment, which includes felony rioting, conspiracy and destruction charges, for all defendants except Cantú.
Cantú is indicted for the same felonies as the rest of the J20 defendants.
Assistant US Attorney Jennifer Kerkhoff tells a judge all defendants are equally liable for damage that occurred at the protests.
Clashes between fascists and anti-fascists grow more intense, culminating in a deadly confrontation in Charlottesville, Virginia, on
The US Department of Justice backs off its request for 1.3 million IP addresses of those who visited an anti-Trump protest website.
The first six J20 defendants go to trial, including photo journalist Alexei Wood.
November – December:
US prosecutors use video obtained from Project Veritas and Oath Keepers as evidence at the first J20 trial.
Six J20 defendants acquitted on all charges at trial.
January 19, 2018:
Prosecutors drop charges for 129 defendants. Charges remain against Cantú and 58 others, alleged as part of a “core group.”
The second group of J20 defendants goes to trial, with prosecutors using near identical arguments as the first trial.
A DC court sanctions prosecutors for misrepresenting the existence of over 60 additional Project Veritas videos.
The trial for the second group of defendants ends in acquittals and mistrials.
Prosecutors drop all charges for all remaining defendants.
Alt-right media personality Mike Cernovich encourages his Twitter followers to support the Unmasking Antifa Act, which punishes wearing masks at raucous protests by up to 15 years in prison.