Gun and drug activist Adam Kokesh, a libertarian talk show host who's called for a country-wide secessionist effort, has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a video he posted on July 4, showing him loading a shotgun in downtown D.C., and unrelated marijuana charges.
D.C. Superior Court records show Kokesh -- who filmed the D.C. shotgun video after calling off a planned armed march on Washington -- pleaded guilty to drug and weapons charges on Wednesday, and received bond on two conditions: That he "not possess weapons of any kind" and that he keep away from the District, except for court and other legal appointments. (Speaking of, Kokesh's sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 17.)
The guilty pleas come as something of a surprise. As the Washington Post notes, the Wednesday hearing was unscheduled, and came just weeks after a not guilty plea to the same charges.
In the months that Kokesh has remained in jail -- his bond having been denied almost 10 times since the charges were filed at the end of July, court records show; he was called "very dangerous" by the presiding judge at one hearing -- his supporters have engaged in jury nullification outreach efforts, aimed at educating potential jurors about their ability to acquit defendants charged with violating laws they disagree with.
These efforts didn't seem poised to end anytime soon; just seven hours ago, Kokesh (or someone with access to his Facebook page) posted a letter that talked about his upcoming trial, which had been scheduled for Nov. 18:
When I go to trial, I will be arguing that if there is no victim, there is no crime, and it will not just be my civil disobedience on trial, not just gun control, not just the enforcement of unconstitutional laws, not just the criminal injustice system, but the entire idea of government force and the government that has become the greatest enemy of freedom will be on trial. I will be fighting for my freedom, and yours, but you will never be free until you stand up for yourself and demand to be free. I would never ask you to follow me, but I dearly hope that you will join me.
That trial, of course, has been canceled in the wake of the guilty pleas.
U.S. Department of Justice spokesperson William Miller told HuffPost that Kokesh pled guilty in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to charges of "carrying a rifle or shotgun, possession of an unregistered firearm, and unlawful possession of ammunition. In a separate case, he pled guilty to a charge of possession of marijuana."
In addition to fines, the maximum penalties Kokesh faces for the charge of carrying a rifle or shotgun is five years in prison, said Miller. He faces up to one year in jail for the other weapons charges, and a possible sentence of 180 days in jail for the marijuana charge.
We've reached out to Kokesh, several of those involved in his jury nullification and other outreach efforts and his attorney. We'll update this post with any new information.