DC
11/16/2011 07:27 pm ET | Updated Nov 16, 2011

Judge Delivers Verdicts In D.C. Activists' Trial

WASHINGTON -- D.C. Superior Court Judge Robert E. Morin handed down verdicts on Wednesday in the trial of eight D.C. activists arrested last April while protesting congressional restrictions on abortion funds.

Seven of the activists received fines and fees of $200 or less, and one activist, Anise Jenkins, was acquitted. The eight are among some 44 arrested during protests of a federal budget deal that banned the District from using its own funds to pay for abortions.

D.C. Shadow Sen. Paul Strauss, one of the lawyers who represented the activists and a long-time advocate for D.C. budget autonomy, told The Huffington Post that he considers the trial to have been a success.

"This was a political trial, where we raised political issues," Strauss said, shortly after the verdicts were delivered. "Just by raising awareness, we have achieved goals that we set out to achieve. More people are aware of the grievances of D.C. residents than were before this trial. To that extent we're pleased."

The activists have 30 days to file any appeals. Strauss said they are not "ruling anything out" -- including appeals and demonstrations, this time against the new D.C. budget bill that Congress is contemplating. The bill would grant D.C. more autonomy over its budget process, but would again restrict the District's use of money for abortions -- which may mean that even more people will soon become aware of the grievances of D.C. residents.

"I think some of the defendants advised the judge that he could expect to see more people in his courtroom on issues like this," Strauss said.

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