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Daniel Choi at Stop Watching Me

13 Nov

Lt. Daniel Choi has breakdown in court

28 Mar

Update:  Work prevented me from returning after the lunch recess at 1:45 pm, but Choi was apparently found guilty and fined $100, having originally been looking at up to 6 months in prison.  Apparently creating a martyr was not in the Obama Justice Department game plan.  He says he will refuse to pay.

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Having spent the morning as an observer in federal court today on Constitution Avenue, nestled between the IRS, the Newseum, and the Department of Labor, I will have to come back to finish this blog post later, as I had to go to my daytime job…


Lt. Daniel Choi, a Westpoint graduate and U.S. Army officer who was discharged from the military before the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell for revealing his homosexuality in a TV interview, defended himself in court today, in part because his previous counsel in other cases, former JAG officer Peter Angelo, is also a defendant in the current case.  Choi is charged with some form of trespass by the U.S. Park Police, along with 12 others, for handcuffing themselves to the fence at the White House in protest of the Obama administration’s not keeping a campaign promise of ending the DADT policy in 2009.

Daniel Choi

Speaking to an overflow crowd (supporters were waiting in line in the hall outside, where U.S. Marshalls and other security made them stand single file, dispose of coffee from the cafeteria one floor below, and told them to keep silent lest they disturb other hearings), Choi was erratic and labile, contentious with the judge and conversational with witnesses and the audience.  He cracked jokes and shook hands with observers.  A sprinkling of gay activist Washington, including former Democratic operatives Lane Hudson, Paul Yandura and Donald Hitchcock were in attendance, along with Washington Blade reporter Lou Chibarro Jr., and Choi’s sister and friends, and ubiquitously bicoastal gay Republican presidential candidate Fred Karger and entourage.  Also a lovely woman Grace, who passed the time in line with me, who was housemates with one of Rita Mae Brown’s lovers when they were all just out of college.

Miriam Ben-Shalom



Choi called as witnesses fellow former gay military officer Miriam Ben-Shalom and a internal affairs Park Police detective Timothy Hodges, who had participated in his arrest.  Choi questioned whether officer Hodges or his superiors had had the group arrested because they were criticizing the President or the President’s gay rights policy, or because they were gay.  Among many other objections from the prosecution and exasperated comments from the judge, the court responded that Officer Hodges’s beliefs about politics or sexuality did not have to be shared as they were protected by the First Amendment.  Choi countered that his protest should also have been protected by the First Amendment, and that as no traffic was blocked and the White House fence was not damaged, his group’s handcuffing themselves to the fence was symbolic political speech.

Detective Hodges

He then asked to show a segment of an interview he had conducted on the Rachel Maddow show, about what those beliefs were, and while the audience watched it on a large screen, put his head down and began sobbing, consoled by a female friend who appeared to be a former military band member.  After several minutes of the interview playing he jumped up, no longer sobbing, and shouted that “he rested his case” and that he was “through with this shit.”  Earlier he had in one of many sidebar conversations with people in the audience, complained of jet lag, and Mr. Angelo had come out at one point to tell supporters lined up in the hall what was transpiring in the court room, and that Choi was “showing the strain” of representing himself.

At one point Choi complained of censorship, since a fourth of his supporters were kept in the hall (about 80 were in the court, along with 10 court employees and half a dozen security people).  IPADS and telephones were collected at the building entrance and not allowed in court.

Daniel Choi in court 3/28

27 Mar

Daniel Choi is in federal court Thursday morning.  The Obama Justice Department is attempting to put him in federal prison for 6 months for chaining himself to the White House fence to protest Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Daniel Choi court date tomorrow

27 Mar

  • Criminal Trial Resumes in USA v Lt. Dan Choi, 3/28/2013 9:00am, Federal Court, Washington DC. Prosecution still seeking max jail time for protesting Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. All I know is America trained me to never give up.

    “Never to be content with a half-truth when the whole can be won.” – West Point Cadet Prayer.

333 Constitution Ave NWWashington, District of Columbia
View Map · Get Directions

Lt. Daniel Choi joins national board of OutRight Libertarians

18 Mar
DC Libertarians: Lt. Daniel Choi joins national board of OutRight Libertarians

Activist Lt. Dan Choi will be back in court on March 28th for protesting Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in 2010 – and we want you to be there.
That’s right, the U.S. government is still prosecuting Lt. Dan nearly three years later — for chaining himself to the White House fence while protesting a law that the government has since repealed. The Justice Department still wants to put Dan behind bars for 6 months for “failure to obey.”
Supporters are holding a rally to support Lt. Dan Choi and speak out against this reprehensible attack on free speech. Can you join in?

Thursday, March 28 – 9 a.m.
E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse
333 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington D.C

Thank you so much for supporting Lt. Dan Choi and for continuing to fight for equality and free speech.

Daniel Choi in Court

7 Mar

In March 2010, Lt. Choi and Capt. James Pietrangelo (Army Lawyer discharged under DADT in 2004) chained themselves to the fence of the White House, encouraging others to join the movement for gay civil rights. They spent the night in DC Jail. Repeating the action in April with a bigger group, all charges were dropped. Finally by Summer 2010, Lt. Choi was discharged from the army. He relinquished his West Point graduation ring to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, demanding urgency on civil rights legislation. In November, the protest at the White House was repeated, and Lt. Choi was the only protestor to plead NOT GUILTY based on first amendment rights to peaceably assemble and speak in a public forum. Choi has also been arrested in Moscow Russia for LGBT rights, in Las Vegas for Employment non-Dsicrimination, and also in DC for Environmental Causes, and won dismissals in every court action, always pleading not guilty. 

This is the final trial, with a maximum jail sentence of 6 months in federal prison for what is normally something at the level of a parking ticket, left to traffic judges. The trial has already made legal history in the arena of Criminal Procedure and the Writ of Mandamus which the prosecution won, after Lt. Choi successfully argued discriminatory practices against protestors and LGBT soldiers, in his own testimony. 

Lt. Choi has been on trial for 3 years now (as the prosecution revived all his protests of 2010) and represents himself. The prosecutor has also refused to address Lt. Choi by his rightfully earned rank, disobeying an order from the judge to comply with these courtesies. Lt. Choi argued this legal requirement based on African American citizens being denied their ranks and honorifics in court until the 1950s. This trial is the sole obstacle to Lt. Choi’s reinstatement in the US Army and the topic of the protest, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is the sole reason for Lt. Choi’s discharge. He appears before the judge in full military uniform for every hearing.

The trial is focused on free speech and LGBT civil rights. The rights of a defendant and criminal procedure are also central issues in this final lap of the trial.


Daniel Choi in Court

6 Mar

In March 2010, Lt. Choi and Capt. James Pietrangelo (Army Lawyer discharged under DADT in 2004) chained themselves to the fence of the White House, encouraging others to join the movement for gay civil rights. They spent the night in DC Jail. Repeating the action in April with a bigger group, all charges were dropped. Finally by Summer 2010, Lt. Choi was discharged from the army. He relinquished his West Point graduation ring to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, demanding urgency on civil rights legislation. In November, the protest at the White House was repeated, and Lt. Choi was the only protestor to plead NOT GUILTY based on first amendment rights to peaceably assemble and speak in a public forum. Choi has also been arrested in Moscow Russia for LGBT rights, in Las Vegas for Employment non-Dsicrimination, and also in DC for Environmental Causes, and won dismissals in every court action, always pleading not guilty. 

This is the final trial, with a maximum jail sentence of 6 months in federal prison for what is normally something at the level of a parking ticket, left to traffic judges. The trial has already made legal history in the arena of Criminal Procedure and the Writ of Mandamus which the prosecution won, after Lt. Choi successfully argued discriminatory practices against protestors and LGBT soldiers, in his own testimony. 

Lt. Choi has been on trial for 3 years now (as the prosecution revived all his protests of 2010) and represents himself. The prosecutor has also refused to address Lt. Choi by his rightfully earned rank, disobeying an order from the judge to comply with these courtesies. Lt. Choi argued this legal requirement based on African American citizens being denied their ranks and honorifics in court until the 1950s. This trial is the sole obstacle to Lt. Choi’s reinstatement in the US Army and the topic of the protest, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is the sole reason for Lt. Choi’s discharge. He appears before the judge in full military uniform for every hearing.

The trial is focused on free speech and LGBT civil rights. The rights of a defendant and criminal procedure are also central issues in this final lap of the trial.