WASHINGTON (AP) — A demonstrator who interrupted arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court in February and whose group posted video of the protest online, a first for the court, has been sentenced to time served.
Noah Kai Newkirk of Los Angeles pleaded guilty Tuesday in connection with the Feb. 26 disruption, after which he served a night in jail. After Tuesday's hearing, a Supreme Court policeman gave Newkirk a piece of paper that notified him he is also barred from the court grounds for a year.
After video of his protest was posted online, the Supreme Court, which forbids cameras and all other electronic devices, tightened its security screening. Newkirk declined Tuesday to say how the video of his protest was shot.
Newkirk, a member of the group 99Rise, told a D.C. Superior Court judge overseeing his case that he spoke out to protest the "unprecedented amount of money" corporations are spending on elections. He said the Supreme Court played a role in "deepening that corruption."
During his demonstration, the first to disrupt an argument session in more than seven years, Newkirk called on the court to overturn its 2010 decision in Citizens United v. FEC. The decision freed corporations and labor unions from some limits on campaign spending.
Newkirk also called on the court to keep in place federal campaign contribution limits in a case then under review by the justices. The court has since decided that case, McCutcheon v. FEC, with the justices voting to strike down the overall federal limit on individuals' contributions.
Newkirk's attorney, Jeffrey L. Light, told the judge Newkirk has no intention of returning to the Supreme Court. But Newkirk said outside the hearing that "it's a hypothetical possibility there may be others."
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