Three pro-life activists who protested and blocked access to a Washington, D.C., reproductive health care services clinic in October 2020 were found guilty of federal charges by a jury on Monday.
Jonathan Darnell, 41, of Arlington, Virginia, said in a press release from the Department of Justice. Jean Marshall, 73, of Kingston, Massachusetts. Joan Bell, 74, of Montague, New Jersey, was each convicted of federal civil rights conspiracy and violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act.
According to the Justice Department, Marshall and Bell traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with Darnell and participate in a clinic blockade coordinated and livestreamed on Facebook by another co-conspirator.
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During the lockdown on October 22, 2020, the defendants are accused of setting up a blockade of the clinic and preventing the clinic from providing reproductive health services.
Prosecutors said Marshall and Bell were part of a group that forced entry into the clinic and used furniture, chains, rope and human remains to block two doors.
Darnell remained outside the clinic and streamed the incident on social media.
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In that case, all three defendants violated the FACE Act after using physical interference to harm, intimidate, and interfere with clinic employees and patients receiving reproductive health services.
U.S. District Judge Colleen Koller Kotelly, who presided over the trial of Marshall, Bell, and Darnell, ordered the immediate detention of all three defendants as required by statute.
Sentencing for the three men is scheduled for a later date, and each faces up to 11 years in prison, suspended for three years, and fines of up to $350,000.
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In August, five co-conspirators were arrested, including Lauren Handy, 28, of Alexandria, Virginia. John Hinshaw, 67, of Levittown, New York. Heather Idoni, 61, of Linden, Michigan. William Goodman, 52 years old, lives in the Bronx, New York. Herb Geraghty, 25, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was convicted on the same charges, and another co-defendant, Jay Smith, also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 months in prison, suspended for three years.
Prosecutors allege in all cases that pro-life activists are under federal law enacted under former President Bill Clinton that prohibits physical violence, threats of force, or intentional damage to property to prevent access to or access to abortion services. It was alleged to be a violation of the FACE Act of 1994.
Speaking before the trial, Darnell said: he will plead not guilty.
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Darnell, who professes to be a Christian, said in an interview with Fox News Digital: “I am absolutely innocent of the charges that have been brought against me. It’s quite ironic that I’m in this position. ” he said. “Still, if a jury, even by mistake, finds me guilty of FACE, I would be honored, because children deserve to be protected.”