Jury Acquits Man on Most Inauguration Day Riot Charges

WASHINGTON (The Washington Post ) -

A Virginia man accused of participating in destructive Inauguration Day riots in downtown Washington was acquitted Wednesday of most criminal charges, but a jury deadlocked on one count of engaging in a riot.

Seth Cadman, 27, of Virginia Beach, left D.C. Superior Court after a mistrial was declared regarding the single remaining charge.

After signing a form at the judge’s bench, promising to return for a July 11 status hearing on his retrial, Cadman, his long blonde hair in a bun, walked from the courtroom with a smile but declined to discuss the case.

“I’m honestly not ready to talk about this yet,” he said.

The jury is continuing its deliberations in the cases of two remaining defendants: Michael Basillas, 32, of New York, and Anthony Felice, 26, of Wilmington Beach, North Carolina. Jurors earlier found a fourth that co-defendant, Casey Webber, 29, of the District of Columbia, was not guilty of all six charges he faced, including rioting and conspiracy.

On the first day of trial two weeks ago, prosecutors argued in front of the jury that they had video evidence showing Cadman, Basillas and Felice participating in vandalism during the protests. Defense attorneys contended the images were grainy and said their clients were not the ones depicted smashing widows and causing other destruction.

The mixed verdict is the latest example of the struggle prosecutors in the U.S. attorney’s office in the District have had in trying to secure additional convictions in the Jan. 20, 2017, incidents.

In all, 234 people were charged in connection with the Inauguration Day disturbance that stretched over 16 blocks in downtown Washington and resulted in smashed windows and other property damage.

So far, 21 defendants pleaded guilty before trial. Prosecutors have dropped more than 150 cases — including 10 that were dismissed last week after a judge found that the U.S. attorney’s office failed to turn over some video evidence to the defense. Seven people, including Webber, have been acquitted on all charges.

Cadman on Wednesday was found not guilty of conspiracy to riot and five counts of destruction of property, but prosecutors said they plan to retry him on the remaining count.

There are 47 cases left scheduled for various trials throughout the year.

Authorities say the group of Inauguration Day protesters used “black bloc” tactics, wearing dark clothing and hiding their faces by wearing masks and goggles. Defense attorneys have argued that most people who joined protests that day were demonstrating legally and that only a small group peeled off to vandalize businesses and property.