25 protesters plead not guilty

Elizabeth Dunbar

Twenty-five of the 67 antiwar protesters arrested last week at the federal courthouse in downtown Minneapolis pleaded innocent Thursday to petty misdemeanor trespassing charges.

“It wasn’t a reasonable fine,” Anti-War Committee member and arrestee Jess Sundin said. “I felt it was an act aimed at discouraging us from doing it again.”

Initially, the Hennepin County prosecutor offered the protesters a $188 fine, which included court costs.

“It seemed too similar to the amount (Gov. Tim) Pawlenty suggested,” said Sundin, who was one of the 25 pleading innocent.

Because many of the protesters spent time in jail, the group’s attorneys asked for a fine reduction. The fine was reduced to either $100 or two days of community service.

“We wanted to make the prosecutors prove their case,” Sundin said.

The protesters will make a pre-trial appearance May 2.