Former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will be a key witness in the trial of five local anti-war protesters.
Attorney William Gallagher plans to file a motion Friday in Hamilton County Municipal Court seeking to compel Rumsfeld’s testimony. The motion asks Judge David Stockdale to declare Rumsfeld a material witness and to issue a subpoena for him to appear in court to answer questions about the war in Iraq.
Gallagher represents seven people arrested Sept. 27, 2006, during a peaceful sit-in at the office of U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot. Refusing to leave the office unless Congressman Chabot signed the Congressional Declaration of Peace, the group was charged with criminal trespassing. Five of the protesters are scheduled for trial Jan. 22; two had their cases heard in Hamilton County Juvenile Court.
Gallagher has already issued a subpoena to Congressman Chabot.
The defendants plan to present a “necessity defense,” hoping to convince a jury that they broke the law in order to save human lives and therefore should be found not guilty. In a statement issued the day of their arrest, the protesters said they were acting in order to stop a greater crime.
“We believe the war in Iraq was wrong from the start, and its continuation worsens the crime we have committed,” the statement said. “Every citizen has a responsibility to try to prevent wrongdoing by the state. So great is our responsibility to end this war that we believe we must try new ways of communicating with those in power. Our phone calls, letters, petitions and marches have so far failed to sway Congressman Chabot. We are here today in yet another effort to enlist his help in ending the war.”
During the sit-in, they read aloud the names of Iraqis and Americans who have been killed in the war, including a large number of children.
Saying they want to “put the war on trial,” the protesters plan to question Rumsfeld and Congressman Chabot about the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. They also plan to present testimony by two U.S. veterans who served in Iraq, a Christian Peacemaker who volunteered in Iraq and other evidence of the death and destruction caused by U.S. policy.
The defendants scheduled for trial Jan. 22 are Ellen Dienger, Gregory Flannery, Sister Mary Evelyn Jegen, the Rev, John Rich and Barbara Wolf.
Gregory Flannery is News Editor at CityBeat. Barbara Wolf is a filmmaker. On September 28, 2006, Flannery wrote a post here shortly after his arrest. Click here to read.
(Photos: Donald Rumsfeld – Google.com. Gregory Flannery – CityBeat)