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NAACP Leader, 11 Others Guilty In North Carolina 'Moral Monday' Protests

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Protestors rally during "Moral Monday" demonstrations on Halifax Mall at the General Assembly in Raleigh, N.C., Monday, July 8, 2013. Nearly 700 people, led by the North Carolina Chapter of the NAACP, have been arrested over the past 10 weeks of the legislative session while protesting against policies being enacted by the North Carolina General Assembly. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A judge has found North Carolina NAACP President William Barber and 11 others guilty of second-degree trespassing and violating building rules while protesting in April at the state legislature.

Wake County District Court Judge Joy Hamilton issued her ruling Wednesday after a two-day trial during which defense lawyers argued that the protesters' actions were protected by both the U.S. and state constitutions.

The dozen defendants in court this week were among the first of more than 930 people arrested as part of weekly protests during the 2013 legislative session. The protests were organized by the NAACP against the policies of the state's Republican governor and lawmakers.

Hamilton sentenced the defendants to pay a $100 fine and court costs. The defense gave immediate notice of appeal for the two convictions.

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