Gay activist Dan Choi was ”treated differently,” says lawyer in protest trialBreaking News, Top Highlights Tuesday, August 30th, 2011
A former army lieutenant and West Point graduate was arrested November 2010 for handcuffing himself to a White House fence in protest of the ‘Don’t ask, Don’t Tell’ (DADT) policy. Now facing trial, his lawyer said Monday his arrest “is being treated differently because he is a prominent voice for gay rights,” the AP reports.
Dan Choi, an Iraq war veteran, was arrested on a count of disobeying police during DADT protest against at the U.S. White House. Choi joined 13 others in the demonstration.
Now, Choi’s attorney Robert Feldman explains his arrest and sentence may have been unfair since the proceedings were held in federal court as opposed to local court, where cases such as these are ordinarily handled. Feldman insists Choi was “treated differently” on the basis of being gay, according to reports.
The other 12 protesters agreed to settle the case with prosecutors by pleading guilty with no jail time on the promise they would not get rearrested within four months of their conviction. Choi did not accept the bargain, and instead rejected the offer, insisting Monday “he never considered taking the deal.”
“They want him to go away,” Feldman said in a statement to the AP. “He is the gay man who is finally attracting the attention.”
His lawyer will enter a not guilty plea on behalf of the charges because he says Choi was unable to hear the police over crowd noise.
In hindsight, Choi acknowledges his protests are now “moot” since DADT was repealed this year by President Obama. As of Sept. 20, homosexuals who serve in the military will be federally protected in disclosing their sexual orientation without government recourse.
“It is crystal clear this prosecution lacks a solid case against Lt. Choi, and prefers not to be publicly embarrassed by having to justify this unlawful arrest. They prefer to impose fear tactics behind closeted doors. ” Feldman said.
If convicted, Choi will face 6 months in prison or a $5,000 fine for an obscure infraction of Parks and Wildlife federal regulations.
Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=14552