In Dekalb County the judge ruled to uphold domestic terrorism charges because the act of setting fire to the construction site close to a power line tower was considered a direct threat to critical infrastructure, and claims that the alleged were each a party to the alleged crimes committed on March 5(even if the alleged did not start any of the fires nor commit any crimes).
The state described the “Defend the Forest Movement” as being well funded and having a “pretty good propaganda arm”, and as a pyramid scheme, with different subgroups designed to attract new members and subordinate to the leadership of a main group under a command structure.
The next day, at the hearing for the 23 people arrested on March 5th, the state described the Atlanta Solidarity Fund(which is a bail and legal defense fund for activists in the city, and who they have since arrested and charged the members of), as being investigated as a “central part” of the Defend the Forest Movement.
In Fulton County, the state argued that the alleged was a party to the alleged unlawful assembly, riot, arson and property destruction on January 21.
The state said that a repayment from the “Forest Defense Fund” for supplies an activist purchased for a welcome table in 2022 was evidence that they were well positioned in the movement and knew what was going to happen at the protest on January 21, and argued that a social media post sharing a flyer for a “night of rage” on January 20 was further evidence of their culpability. Several times throughout both hearings, prosecutors presented defendants’ social media posts.
The state also drew a hilarious comparison to the 9/11 attack in New York City USA saying, “[Protesters] were trying to knock out the windows of 191 Peachtree Street. That is a dangerous situation. That’s a twin towers.”
Both judges stated in court that prosecutors would need to reach a much higher standard when the cases goes to trial.
This is a summary of an Atlanta Community Press Collective article that describe these hearings in greater detail.