November 7, 2013
Libertarian activist Adam Kokesh was arrested in July for uploading a video of himself loading a shotgun in D.C.’s Freedom Plaza.
D.C. gun laws are some of the strictest in the U.S. As reported by ABC News, “The District has a litany of laws on the books that make it more difficult to obtain some firearms, impossible to obtain others, and illegal to carry any loaded gun in the city.” Just being in D.C. with a loaded firearm, even if it is legally registered, is a violation of the law. D.C. laws also ban gun owners from carrying firearms openly or concealed in public.
On July 9, not even a week after producing and uploading his video, Kokesh’s home was raided by a SWAT team. He spent over 120 days in jail with no bond, no bail, and no trial. 57 of those days were spent in solitary confinement.
On Wednesday, Kokesh pled guilty to to carrying a rifle or shotgun, possession of an unregistered firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition. He also pled guilty to possession of marijuana in Washington, DC. He will now be released from jail while he awaits his sentencing on January 17.
Just two weeks ago, Kokesh pled not guilty to the charges, claiming he was merely exercising his constitutional rights. However, on October 23, Kokesh’s attorney Peter Cooper randomly quit his case. After the court appointed the activist a new attorney, he decided to plead guilty.
At this time, it is unknown why Cooper suddenly quit the case. Kokesh’s manager, Jeffrey Phillips, said, “Cooper is a buddy of Adam and represents him whenever he gets in D.C. trouble. There’s no reason for him to just leave other than [the feds] got to him. He was scared away by the government basically. The court appointed Adam a new lawyer who has no idea what he is getting himself into. They obviously do not want him to have a good lawyer, and we had a good lawyer.”
While Kokesh awaits his January sentencing, he is not allowed in the District of Columbia and must report to supervising authorities once per week. He is also not allowed to own any firearms.
Kokesh could spend over six years in prison, but his friends and family maintain that he is not a danger to society.
His girlfriend Carey Wedler said, “While everyone may not agree with Adam’s way of doing things, he is and has always been very peaceful. He has never been a dangerous person.”
We will keep you up-to-date on Kokesh’s situation as news breaks. See our piece from last week with exclusive interviews here.