Judge ordered gun activist to remain in jail

A D.C. Superior Court judge called a Virginia-based gun-rights activist “dangerous” Monday and ordered him to remain in D.C. jail until trial.

Magistrate Judge Frederick Sullivan ordered Adam Kokesh, 31, to remain in jail on charges of carrying a firearm in the District outside of his home or office. Kokesh was charged with allegedly loading a shotgun in Freedom Plaza on Independence Day, recording it and downloading the video to Youtube.

According to court records, Kokesh posted the 23-second video to YouTube showing him holding a 12-gauge, pump-action shotgun and loading what appeared to be live shells while speaking into the camera. Kokesh is then seen racking the slide of the shotgun. A caption in the video says Kokesh is in Freedom Plaza.

When authorities searched his home in Herndon, they found nine weapons, including a Smith & Wesson .357 magnum handgun, a .22-caliber rifle and a Maverick Arms 12-gauge, pump-action shotgun. Police also found ammunition and marijuana, mushrooms and “other suspected narcotics,” according to documents.

Kokesh allegedly told police at the time of their search: “I’ll help you out, check in the headboard.” That’s where police found the shotgun, according to the documents.

During the hearing, Kokesh, wearing an orange D.C. jail jumpsuit, sat next to his attorney, Peter Cooper, as Cooper tried to argue that there was no proof that the shotgun in the video wasn’t just “a prop” or that the shotgun recovered at his client’s home was the actual shotgun used in the video. Cooper argued that his client was merely “making a political statement.”

Under questioning, the lead detective in the case, Park Police officer Robert Freeman, said the shotgun recovered at Kokesh’s home had four loaded shells, the same number Kokesh is seen loading into the shotgun in the video.

Cooper also argued that his client lived with eight roommates and that there was no evidence that the guns recovered did not belong to one of the roommates.

The judge said he found “probable cause” that Kokesh did violate the District’s gun laws. ”I consider your client a very dangerous man,” Sullivan said. “You don’t make a political statement with a gun.”

The hearing often became contentious as Cooper and Sullivan argued. At one point, one of Kokesh’s friends sitting in the audience was ordered out of the courtroom. The friend, the marshals said, was trying to take a picture or video of Kokesh with his cellphone. Taking pictures in the courtroom is against court policy.

Kokesh’s next hearing is scheduled for Aug. 13.

Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of slain federal intern Chandra Levy.
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