[Ppnews] Protest demands “Drop the charges against Carlos Montes”

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Sat Aug 13 10:28:01 EDT 2011

Protest demands "Drop the charges against Carlos Montes" at August 12 
court appearance

By Staff |
August 12, 2011

Los Angeles, CA - More than 60 people joined a spirited picket line 
here at the Criminal Courts Building, Aug. 12, to demand all charges 
against veteran Chicano leader and anti-war activist Carlos Montes be 
dropped. Montes previously appeared in Alhambra Court July 6, where 
he declared himself not guilty of six felonies relating to 
California's firearm laws.

Montes told supporters in front of the Los Angeles courthouse, "I 
have done nothing wrong. The government is using any pretext they can 
come up with to prosecute me for my activism opposing U.S. wars and 
interventions and for standing in solidary with people in Colombia 
and Palestine."

Inside the courthouse, supporters, family and friends of Montes 
packed the court room where the first order of business was picking a 
judge to preside over the case. The first judge assigned to the case 
was Marylou Villar Longoria, the sister of Los Angeles' Mayor Antonio 
Villarigoza. Judge Villar Longoria stated that she was a friend of 
Montes 28 years ago, and a friend of his lawyer, Jorge Gonzalez, ten 
years ago. She also stated that she could judge the case fairly. The 
prosecutor then exercised his right to get a different judge, so 
Judge Rehm will now be presiding.

In other legal developments, the prosecution agreed to return 
property seized in the May 17 raid on Montes' home. The Los Angeles 
Sheriff's Department and the FBI conducted the raid. The property 
includes Montes' computer, cell phone and files documenting current 
political activism and decades of political activism. The prosecution 
refused a request from Montes' attorney Jorge Gonzales for 
information about communications between the FBI and Sheriff's 
Department, so that issue will be taken up in the discovery process.

Attorney Gonzales told the crowd of supporters inside the courthouse 
that the next important court date in Montes case will be a 
preliminary hearing on Sept. 29.

After the court appearance, picketing resumed and the chant "Drop the 
charges now!" echoed off the court house.

Mick Kelly, one of the Midwest anti-war activists raided by the FBI 
on Sept. 24, 2010 and a spokesperson for the Committee to Stop FBI 
Repression, told the crowd, "The attack on Carlos Montes is a part of 
the larger case involving the 23 anti-war and international 
solidarity activists in the Midwest who were raided by the FBI or 
subpoenaed to appear in front of a Chicago grand jury."

Montes' name was listed on the search warrant when the FBI raided the 
offices of the Twin Cites based Anti-War Committee on Sept. 24, 2010. 
Public statements from the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department confirm 
the FBI was behind the raid on Monte's home. In addition, FBI agents 
tried to interrogate Montes about Freedom Road Socialist 
Organization, one of the groups being targeted by the Chicago Grand 
Jury, while he was being held in squad car during the May 17 raid on his home.

Kelly stated, "Across the country activists are holding, events, 
protests and call-in days to demand all charges against Carlos Montes 
be dropped now. The attempt to put Carlos in jail is an attempt to 
silence all of us who are speaking out for peace and justice. We will 
not let this happen."

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