A Denver man has been charged with multiple felonies after he was caught distributing fliers to educate potential jurors about the practice of “jury nullification.”
The Denver Post reported that 56-year-old Mark Iannicelli set up a small booth with a sign reading “Juror Info” outside the Lindsay-Flanigan Courthouse in Denver last week. The Denver District Attorney’s Office charged Iannicelli with seven counts of jury tampering after members of the jury pool were found to be in possession of fliers describing jury nullification.
Jury nullification allows juries to acquit a defendant who they may believe is guilty if they also believe that the law is unjust. The practice has been used by juries in the United States since the 1800s to nullify anti-free speech laws and laws punishing northerners for helping runaway slaves. It has most recently been used in drug cases when juries have viewed laws as discriminatory.
A copy of the criminal complaint obtained by Kirsten Tynan of the Fully Informed Jury Association says that Iannicelli “unlawfully and feloniously attempted directly and indirectly to communicate with” seven jurors.
A probable cause statement added that Iannicelli was accused of “handing out information to potential jurors.”
Tynan pointed out that the complaint “does not accuse Mr. Iannicelli of advocating for or against any case in progress” and “it does not accuse Mr. Iannicelli even of targeting individuals for sharing information with them.”
“The charges don’t discuss specifically what Mr. Iannicelli is accused of doing, but rather seem to regurgitate the language of the statute which he is accused of violating (C.R.S. 18-8-609 for all counts) and then claim that he violated it,” Tynan wrote.
“I see nothing in the Statement of Probable Cause substantiating these accusations.” Tynan continued. “The charges allege that Mr. Iannicelli acted ‘with intent to influence a juror’s vote, opinion, decision, and action in a case’, but nowhere in the Statement of Probable Cause do I see anything that indicates such.”
“Nothing I have heard from any of the local people who saw the arrest and/or know Mr. Iannicelli indicates that he was doing anything other than fully informing people about all the options jurors have.”
Iannicelli was released on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond. His next court date is scheduled for Aug. 11.
Defense secretary throws Trump under the bus: ‘I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act’
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on Wednesday seemed to be at odds with President Donald Trump when it comes to invoking the Insurrection Act to quell protests over the killing of George Floyd.
Esper explained at a press conference that members of the National Guard had been deployed to keep order "in support of local law enforcement."
"The option to use active duty forces should only be used as a matter of last resort and only in the most urgent and dire of situations," he explained. "We are not in one of those situations now."
"I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act," Esper insisted, referencing Trump's threat to use the law against protesters.
Trump claims he was rushed to White House bunker only for ‘inspection’ — not fear of protesters
President Donald Trump on Wednesday insisted that fear of protesters did not prompt him to be ushered into a White House bunker. Instead, the president said that he visited the facility for an "inspection."
During a Fox News radio interview with host Brian Kilmeade, Trump again threatened to use military forces against protesters.
“If they don’t get their act straightened out I will solve it. I’ll solve it fast,” he said.
The president also pushed back against the narrative that he was "hiding in a White House bunker" as protesters demonstrated outside.
"They said it would be a good time to go down and take a look because maybe sometime you’re going to need it," the president said, adding that the visit was more of an "inspection."
William Barr personally gave order to disperse protesters ahead of Trump photo op, DOJ confirms
The Attorney General of the United States personally issued an order for peaceful protesters to be moved ahead of President Donald Trump's recent walk outside the White House grounds, a report said on Tuesday.
A Justice Department official confirmed to The Washington Post that Attorney General William Barr gave the order when he was seen outside the White House prior to the president's walk to St. John's Episcopal Church.
But on Monday, a White House spokesperson had denied that the protesters were moved to accommodate the president.