Rev Billy's Trial For First Amendment Recitation Began Today

 
NEW YORK, August 6--Free Speech lawyer Norman Siegel appeared in court today with co-counsel Earl Ward arguing for the dismissal of 2nd Degree Harassment charges against Reverend Billy (aka Bill Talen). The activist preacher was arrested on June 29 for reciting the First Amendment in Union Square, but Siegel insisted “Reverend Billy has the First Amendment right to recite the First Amendment.”

Rev's Trial For First Amendment Recitation Began Today

NEW YORK, August 6--Free Speech lawyer Norman Siegel appeared in court today with co-counsel Earl Ward arguing for the dismissal of 2nd Degree Harassment charges against Reverend Billy (aka Bill Talen). The activist preacher was arrested on June 29 for reciting the First Amendment in Union Square, but Siegel insisted “Reverend Billy has the First Amendment right to recite the First Amendment.”

Siegel went on to argue that this attempt to convict the Rev using the harrassment statutes is akin to the District Attorney accepting the NYPD's argument that the Reverend and the police are somehow in a romantic relationship or a marriage of some kind.

The case history of the 2nd degree harassment law is limited to ex-boyfriend sexual stalkers and drunk husbands.

The Reverend’s comment: “Chutzpah! The cops say that they are my abused wife? Are they so defenseless? I didn’t put THEM in the Tombs!” a reference to the City’s correctional facility, where the Rev had been detained for 20 hours.

Siegel and Ward argued that reciting the 44 words of the First Amendment was not harassment but had real civic value in the context of the Critical Mass bike ride and the Picture New York group’s struggle against limits on filming and photography in public spaces.

The entire text of Siegel's argument for dismissal can be found at www.revbilly.com. The Reverend's defense lawyers will submit today's arguments in writing to the court by September 10th, and if the charges are not dropped, the trial will go forward on September 25.

 http://www.revbilly.com/blog/?p=646

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