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Charges Against Dan Choi in Keystone Protest Dropped

Charges Against Dan Choi in Keystone Protest Dropped


D.C. prosecutors dropped charges stemming from the 2011 environmental protest, but a federal case involving Choi's 'don't ask, don't tell' protest remains pending.

Charges against gay and environmental activist Dan Choi stemming from a protest at the White House over the Keystone XL pipeline in 2011 have been dismissed, and a restraining order barring him from the White House grounds has been lifted.

The Washington, D.C., attorney general's office today dropped the charge of failing to obey an officer's order, which was brought in D.C. Superior Court, said Jon W. Norris, one of Choi's attorneys. Another case against Choi, stemming from a "don't ask, don't tell" protest at the White House in 2010, remains pending in federal court.

Prosecutors recognized that as charges against the other Keystone protesters had been dropped, the same should be done for Choi, Norris said.

Choi, a West Point graduate and former Army lieutenant, came out as gay on The Rachel Maddow Show in 2009 and became a leading activist against "don't ask, don't tell," even chaining himself to the White House fence in protest. The policy was repealed in 2011.

Of the Keystone case, Choi wrote in an email today, "The prosecution wasted thousands of hours and dollars on this free speech circus. Now the Stay Away Restraining Order is lifted. I am free to help protestors for any worthy causes make their voices heard. Today we define justice as a verb. For in the very pursuit, there is justice."

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