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March 5, 2013

Prosecutors back down, trial ends

On Friday, the three protesters who were arrested and charged during the January 27 protest at the Center for Care and Discovery accepted revised versions of the plea bargains offered during the first day of the trial on Tuesday. The cases were resolved when they accepted the deals.

The resisting arrest charge against graduate student Toussaint Losier has been dropped. Although the criminal trespass charge remains, the new plea bargain involved supervision for one day. Supervision, which entails periodic check-ins with

authorities and a promise that no charges remain on record, means almost nothing for Losier, according to Alex Goldenberg (A.B. ’06), because that one day of supervision was Friday.

Goldenberg and Jacob Klippenstein have taken the new offer. Under the terms of the new plea bargain, both will be under six months of supervision and a no unlawful contact order with UCMC property. The charges will not remain on their records.

The revisions were a surprise to the defense and the defendants.

“I was anticipating that Alex was going to take the deal that was offered to him but we were going to request that he get supervision instead of conditional discharge,” Joey Mogul, one of three lawyers on the defense, said. “We were presuming that they were going to continue prosecuting [Losier’s] resisting arrest charges.”

Klippenstein had yet to make a decision about the original plea bargain by the time court reconvened Friday, while Losier rejected the original plea bargain last Tuesday.

Mogul said she did not know whether the University or the State’s Attorney Office pushed for the changed plea bargains, but felt the “groundswell of support” demonstrated by the community, University students, and faculty cannot be understated. In addition, the prosecution had a “very weak case” on Toussaint’s resisting arrest charge, Mogul said.

“We took these deals mainly because we wanted to make sure that we had all the time and the resources available to us to really organize people,” Losier said in a video following the court decision, noting that the three plan to continue the fight for a Level-1 trauma center on the South Side.

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