Kokesh pleads guilty in July 4 gun protest
Loaded a shotgun in Freedom Plaza
Internet talk show host and rabblerouser Adam Kokesh pleaded guilty Wednesday to firearms-related charges — assuring him immunity from any charges related to the attempted smuggling of a cellphone into the D.C. Jail.
Kokesh’s gun-related felony charges stem from a videotaped July Fourth stunt in which he loaded a shotgun in the District’s Freedom Plaza as a protest of the city’s restrictive firearms laws. Carrying a firearm outside the home in the District is illegal and Kokesh pleaded guilty to carrying a rifle, possession of an unregistered firearm, and unlawful possession of ammunition. In a separate case, he pleaded guilty to a charge of marijuana possession.
As a result of the plea, Kokesh will be released from custody while awaiting his sentencing in January. He has been held in jail since July 9, when police raided his Herndon home and found 10 firearms as well as marijuana and hallucinogenic mushrooms.
His arrest came days after the distribution on July 4 of a 22-second YouTube video, in which Kokesh is seen loading four shells into a shotgun and pumping a shell into the chamber. Among the weapons recovered from Kokesh’s home was the 12-gauge shotgun believed to the weapon in the video, police said.
Kokesh’s plea agreement states that as a result of his guilty plea, prosecutors will not seek to indict Kokesh on “the circumstances of the attempted introduction of a cellphone into the DC jail on or about October 22, 2013.”
Jail spokeswoman Sylvia Lane said security stopped someone from smuggling a cellphone into the jail to Kokesh. She did not identify the person who was caught with the contraband.
Kokesh’s defense attorney, Larry Caldwell, was assigned to take over case after attorney Peter Cooper was dismissed during an Oct. 23 emergency hearing in D.C. Superior Court. He said there was a “conflict” with the prior attorney but was
unaware whether it was related to the cell phone incident.
“The prior attorney had a conflict that hasn’t been divulged to me,” Mr. Caldwell said.
Mr. Cooper could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Prosecutors wouldn’t say much about the jail incident.
“No one has been charged with respect to that,” said William Miller, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
As a condition of Kokesh’s release, he was ordered not to possess any weapons, to stay out of the District unless for legal appointments, and to report weekly to Pretrial Services Agency by phone. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 17. Drug charges stemming from the raid on Kokesh’s home are still pending in Fairfax County District Court. A hearing is scheduled for Dec. 16 on those charges.
Adam Kokesh was arrested after a video posted on YouTube showed him loading a shotgun in Freedom Plaza as a protest.