Judge Rejects 'Rioting' Charge Against Journalist For Reporting On Protestors, But Prosecutor Still Looking For New Charges
from the good-to-see dept
Thankfully, a judge disagreed and rejected the rioting charge.
District Judge John Grinsteiner did not find probable cause to justify the charges filed on Friday October 14 by State’s Attorney Ladd R. Erickson. Those charges were presented after Erickson had withdrawn an earlier charge against Goodman of criminal trespass.Bizarrely, it appears Erickson is planning to hit the law books to see if there's anything else he can find to charge Goodman:
She and her lawyers declared victory on Monday, but Ladd Erickson, a state prosecutor who is assisting the Morton County state’s attorney’s office in the case, said other charges were possible.That alone just seems like more intimidation -- planning to look at "unedited and unpublished videos" to try to find something to charge Goodman over. This is just blatant intimidation of the press, basically trying to get info on sources.
“I believe they want to keep the investigation open and see if there is any evidence in the unedited and unpublished videos that we could better detail in an affidavit for the judge,” he said via email. “The Democracy Now video that many people have seen doesn’t have much evidence value in it.”
Of course, if the goal was to intimidate Goodman away from reporting on the protests, it appears to have failed. Goodman has pledged to continue to cover the story. The question remaining, though, is if Erickson gets any reprimand for clearly violating the constitutional rights of journalists? It remains deeply problematic that the charges and arrest warrant were ever issued in the first place.
Meanwhile, a documentary filmmaker, Deia Schlosberg, who was also in North Dakota filming protesters was also arrested and has been charged with a series of felony charges including "theft of property, conspiracy to theft of services and conspiracy to tampering with or damaging a public service." So, apparently Goodman isn't the only one targeted for doing First Amendment protected work in covering the stories of protesters.