Gun-rights activist Kokesh ordered held in D.C. jail pending hearing

Adam Kokesh, the gun rights activist arrested after posting an Independence Day video of himself apparently loading a shotgun in Freedom Plaza, will remain in the D.C. jail at least through Monday, a Superior Court judge ruled Friday.

U.S. Park Police brought Kokesh to the District on Thursday to face gun charges related to the video. He was arrested July 9 during a raid of his home in Herndon and had been held in Fairfax County on charges of possession of hallucinogenic mushrooms while possessing a firearm.

Kokesh’s housemates alleged that he was mistreated in the raid, which was led by a Park Police SWAT team and assisted by local police.

Kokesh was posting bail Thursday in Virginia when Park Police arrested him again and took him to the District, according to a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office.

Kokesh was charged Friday in D.C. Superior Court with one count of carrying a firearm outside of his home or office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Chambers called the video a “deliberate and concerted effort to violate” D.C. gun laws.

According to court records, Kokesh posted the 23-second video to YouTube showing him holding a 12-gauge, pump-action shotgun and loading four shells of suspected ammunition 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 .357 Smith & Wesson handgun, a .22- caliber rifle and a Maverick Arms 12-gauge, pump-action shotgun. Police also found ammunition and marijuana, the 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.

Kokesh’s blog, Adam vs. The Man, describes the raid as “a brutal show of force by a coalition of overfunded and undertrained law enforcement agencies.”

The post continues: “These costumed thugs ransacked Adam’s home, and committed numerous civil rights violations in the course of their dubious search — both against Adam and the members of his crew who were present at the time. The officers would not identify themselves, and had covered their badges and name tags.”

Kokesh, 31, was ushered into the courtroom Friday by marshals. His wrists and ankles were shackled, and he was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and khaki pants.

Magistrate Judge Lori Parker ordered Kokesh to remain in jail because, she said, he had violated the rules of his release in another case.

In June, Kokesh was charged with possession of marijuana after he was arrested on the south side of the White House allegedly smoking a marijuana cigarette.

He was released from jail in that case with the condition that he undergo regular drug tests and meet with court officials. He also was ordered not to be arrested on other charges.

At the hearing, Kokesh’s attorney, Peter Cooper, argued that the guns were licensed and that there was no evidence that the shotgun found in his client’s home was the gun in the video. The judge disagreed.

Kokesh is scheduled to appear in court Monday for a preliminary hearing.

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 intern Chandra Levy.
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