The Washington Post

Va. court convicts gun rights activist Adam Kokesh

Anti-war protestor Adam Kokesh is seen outside Capitol Hill in Washington after calling for the end of the war in Iraq, September 4, 2007. (Jim Young /REUTERS)

Gun rights activist Adam Kok­esh, who was convicted of drug and gun charges Thursday in a Fairfax County court, did not contest the allegations, but he called the raid that led to his arrest “political persecution.”

Kokesh, 32, entered an Alford plea in Circuit Court to two felonies related to his possession of hallucinogenic mushrooms while possessing a gun. In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges that prosecutors have enough evidence to obtain a conviction.

Kokesh faces a maximum of 15 years in prison when he is sentenced Sept. 5.

Kokesh was arrested in July when federal and local authorities raided the Herndon home he shared with other activists.

Prosecutors said Thursday that police found 10 guns and drugs, including LSD, marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy and mushrooms.

Kokesh, a Marine Corps veteran of the Iraq War, gained notoriety by posting online a video of himself apparently loading and racking a shotgun in the District’s Freedom Plaza on July 4, less than a week before the raid. The gun used in the video was one of those recovered from his home.

“We will not be silent. We will not obey,” Kokesh said in the video. “We will not allow our government to destroy our humanity. We are the final American revolution. See you next Independence Day.”

In January, Kokesh was sentenced to probation by a D.C. Superior Court judge after pleading guilty to gun charges related to the incident in the District.

In response to a judge’s questions Thursday, Kokesh said he had “deliberately made an act of civil disobedience” by creating the video. But he said he had not anticipated that it would lead to the raid on his Snowflake Court home.

He said he had been “singled out for political purposes” by authorities, pointing out that his roommates had not been charged.

As an activist, Kokesh has called for the overthrow of the government by whatever means necessary and an end to the Iraq War, and he has advocated a range of libertarian-leaning causes. Kokesh also hosted an Internet show called “Adam vs. The Man.”

When asked after the hearing why he felt that he was a victim of political persecution, Kokesh said only, “America would be wise to understand the difference between punishment and justice.”



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