4 journalists cleared of inauguration rioting charges: report

4 journalists cleared of inauguration rioting charges: report

Prosecutors have dropped felony rioting charges against four journalists who were covering President TrumpDonald John TrumpSecret Service members who helped organize Pence Arizona trip test positive for COVID-19: report Trump administration planning pandemic office at the State Department: report Iran releases photo of damaged nuclear fuel production site: report MORE’s inauguration, according to a new report.

District prosecutors dismissed charges against three of the reporters on Monday, bringing the total to four following a similar decision made Friday. A felony rioting charge carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

The four media members were arrested during unruly protests surrounding the Jan. 20 inauguration in D.C., The Washington Post said Monday.


Charges were dropped Monday against New York’s Alexander Rubinstein, who was covering Trump’s inauguration for Russia Today.

John Keller of Virginia’s Fairfax County, who was working on a documentary titled “Story of America,” was also cleared.

The Post noted the final person cleared on Monday was Matthew Hopard, an independent journalist based out of Brooklyn, N.Y.

Prosecutors dropped charges against Evan A. Engel, another Brooklyn journalist, on Friday. Engel was covering Trump’s inauguration for Vocativ, a media and technology enterprise company.

The Post said the four were among 230 people arrested after a small group of demonstrators rampaged through four blocks in downtown D.C. during Trump’s inauguration.

Defense attorneys argued that police were unable to determine nonviolent demonstrators from rioters amid the chaotic scene.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, were working to verify that the four men were journalists.

The four spent one night in a holding cell following their arrests, the Post said, ultimately appearing for a Jan. 21 hearing.

Some demonstrations against Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration turned violent in D.C., with people setting fire to trash cans and newspaper boxes and breaking windows of a handful of downtown businesses.

Protesters clashed with law enforcement at multiple points during the fracas, forcing police officers to use flash-bang grenades and pepper spray to control crowds.

Interim D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said during a Jan. 20 news conference that the unrest was atypical for the city.

“My sense is that these are not people that are from Washington, D.C.,” he said while discussing Inauguration Day arrests.

“And I say that because we deal with peaceful demonstrations in this city every single day, of all kinds with folks that live in this area, and we haven’t seen this type of behavior. It’s very unusual for this region."