Photojournalist Faces 60 Years for Videotaping DC Protest Riot

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Jury selection starts this week in the multi-count felony trial of a photojournalist arrested while covering inauguration protests last January.

Alexei Wood faces up to 60 years in prison for moving alongside and videotaping rioters as they protested President Donald Trump’s inauguration in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20. According to Wood, he was livestreaming the protest – videotaping events and putting them on the internet as they happened.

He said the livestream is still online, and shows he did nothing wrong.  alexei_wood_facebook_live_screenshots

“It documents everything I said or didn’t say, do or didn’t do – clear evidence,” Wood said. “Even the judge said there was ‘zero evidence’ I did property destruction.”

Wood is one of seven journalists who, with a group of more than 200 protesters, were penned in and arrested that day. Charges against five of the journalists have been dropped.

The prosecution is arguing that by being with the group, Wood was “conspiring to riot,” and participating in the destruction of property. Reporters and photojournalists covering riots are sometimes swept up with protesters, and the nature of their work means they often have audio, video or photographic records of an event.

In many cases, those who are arrested see their charges dropped. Part of the difference in Wood’s case seems to be that he is a freelance journalist, and therefore no news organization is helping with his defense.

He has a government-appointed lawyer, and Wood remains stoic about his situation.

“I feel righteous in my innocence,” he said. “I know I didn’t do anything, and I have it recorded that I didn’t do anything. I just sit back and the system does its thing and I either – it either grinds me up or it doesn’t.”

He said prosecutors are using his video in their case against the rioters, but at the same time seem to be ignoring the fact that it shows he didn’t participate.

Wood’s trial will be held in the D.C. Superior Court.

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