After a little more than a day of deliberations, a D.C. jury on Monday acquitted a man who had been accused of conspiring to riot during Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Casey Webber, 29, of the District was found not guilty of all six charges he faced, including rioting and conspiracy.
The jury in Judge Kimberley Knowles’s courtroom continued to deliberate Monday on charges against Webber’s three co-defendants: Seth Cadman, 27, of Virginia Beach; Michael Basillas, 32, of New York; and Anthony Felice, 26, of Wilmington Beach, N.C.
The two-week trial in D.C. Superior Court is the second involving defendants charged in connection with protests on Jan. 20, 2017, that turned destructive.
The first trial late last year resulted in not-guilty verdicts for all six co-defendants after jurors determined there was no evidence the six were personally involved in the vandalism.
In all, 234 people were charged in connection with the Inauguration Day disturbance that stretched over 16 downtown Washington blocks and resulted in smashed windows and other property damage. Twenty-one people have pleaded guilty. Seven defendants, including Webber, have been found not guilty at trial.
Prosecutors have dropped charges against more than 150 other defendants. Those include some dismissed last week after a judge found that the U.S. attorney’s office failed to turn over video evidence to the defense. Prosecutors said charges are pending against 47 defendants who are set to go to trial in small groups.
Authorities say the group of protesters used “black bloc” tactics, wearing dark clothing and hiding their faces by wearing masks and goggles. Defense attorneys have argued that most people who joined protests that day were demonstrating legally and that only a small group peeled off to vandalize.
In the trial in Knowles’s courtroom, prosecutors told jurors in their opening statements that the evidence against Webber was different from that against the other defendants: They said they would use social media messages to argue Webber took part in a conspiracy to plan and carry out the riots. They argued they had video and photographs that showed Cadman, Basillas and Felice breaking windows and destroying property.
Webber’s attorney, April Downs, said the messages showed only that Webber planned to attend a protest of the inauguration. The verdict, Downs said, was “only fair” and proved that her client had nothing to do with the riots. “There no evidence to support these charges against him,” Downs said
Attorneys for Cadman, Basillas and Felice said the images used by prosecutors, which included police body-camera footage, were blurry and that the people in the images were not clearly recognizable. They said the men seen in the videos smashing glass were not their clients.