The RNC 8 argued to a Ramsey County judge Thursday that, as accused co-conspirators, they should be prosecuted as a group in their upcoming trial rather than separately.
Max Specktor, a University of Minnesota student , and seven others were arrested before the Republican National Convention in St. Paul more than a year ago for allegedly plotting to aggressively disrupt the convention. Each member faces multiple felony charges.
Before the hearing, the RNC 8 held an early morning rally where supporters gathered. Rob Czernik, one of the RNC 8, said he was humbled by the support.
“It’s been 13 months since we were arrested and hopefully it’s not another 13 months until we are vindicated,” he said.
The hearing, which was originally to be held on the tenth floor of the courthouse, had to be moved to a new room to accommodate more than 50 observers.
Larry Leventhal, Specktor’s lawyer, argued the motion for a single trial, claiming that the only difference in the eight separate complaints is the names of the accused, and that the charge of conspiracy implies that the defendants were cooperating.
Assistant Ramsey County Attorney Heidi Westby said there were different circumstances in each case and that some defendants were already in jail while others were allegedly plotting criminal acts.
Westby said trying all the defendants together will also create a logistical nightmare in the courtroom, as each member of the group has a different lawyer.
Judge Teresa Warner interrupted Westby to say that the court could work out those potential problems. Defense attorney Bruce Nestor echoed the judge. He said the lawyers would be willing to set parameters for the courtroom because their clients were so adamant about a consolidated trial.
Warner said she hopes to decide on the motion soon, adding that a trial could begin in January at the earliest.