D.C. mayor Vincent Gray, councilmembers arrested: Protesters plead not guilty

Several members of the D.C. 41 pleaded not guilty to civil disobedience charges Thursday morning, and nine of them are expected to pay their fines and have charges dismissed, lawyers say.

A total of 41 people, including Mayor Vincent Gray, were arrested April 11 after sitting down and blocking Constitution Avenue near the U.S. Capitol. The group was angry about a federal budget deal that imposed a voucher program on the city and banned it from using local money to pay for abortions for poor women.

Most of the protesters, including the mayor, paid a $50 fine to get out of jail and have charges against them dropped. But 15 protesters opted for a court date instead of paying the fine.

14 protesters from the D.C. 41 arrest and three who were detained on April 15 have the option of "post and forfeiture," much like Mayor Gray chose, or they can go to trial. A status hearing has been scheduled for June 28.

The posting fee for the nine who are expected to post and forfeit is $100. The eight others have decided to move forward with the legal process, lawyers say.

Three more protesters arrested later in the same week will also have a hearing.

On Wednesday, council member Mary Cheh, who was notably missing from last months’ mass arrests, was arrested during a rally for D.C. voting rights. Cheh was released last night, according to Twitter reports.{ }

More protesters, including several of the 41 people arrested{ }during last month,{ }have gather outside the D.C. courthouse building Thursday morning. (See photo below.){ }

(Photo: Brianne Carter/ABC7)
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