UPDATE 2:40 P.M.: Choi told the judge, "Your honor, I plead not guilty, am not ashamed and am not finished." The cuffs and chains around his waist have been removed. While walking out, Choi said, "I feel dignified . . . to wear the chain others have been wearing but can't see."
UPDATE 2:35 P.M.: Pietrangelo told the judge he won't pay the fine and let this go. Instead, he will plead not guilty and take his case to trial. Choi walked into the courthouse with handcuffs on and a chain around his waist, wearing camouflage.
Lt. Dan Choi is expected to appear in D.C. Superior Court today, one day after handcuffing himself along with Capt. Jim Pietrangelo to the White House gate to draw attention to the fight to repeal "don’t ask, don’t tell." Both men are openly gay and are involved in legal fights with the Department of Defense over efforts to discharge them for homosexuality.
Gay-rights advocates with the newly formed GetEQUAL action group say that Choi may be facing a traffic violation. “Our lawyer just verified that both have been moved from D.C. Central Cell Block to the D.C. Superior Court…” Paul Yandura, a gay advocate helping to spearhead the D.C. civil disobedience yesterday, wrote in an e-mail. “We could not verify the charges, but our lawyer was told that they both will be seen in traffic court, leading her to believe that they have been charged with a lesser traffic offense. But this could not be verified as of this time and is speculation.”
John Aravosis, editor of AMERICAblog, writes that Choi was not given the opportunity to make any calls yesterday.
Robin McGehee, a cofounder of GetEQUAL and former PTA president, was one of the several activists arrested yesterday in D.C. and San Francisco. “We are pushing for full federal equality under the law,” she told NEWSWEEK last night, sitting at Yandura’s home in northwest D.C. after being released with a fine for disruptive conduct for her role in helping Choi and Pietrangelo handcuff themselves to the gate. The group’s activities yesterday focused on ending "don’t ask, don’t tell" and for Pelosi to bring the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to a vote. “Our goal is to empower an online community to get boots on the ground,” she said, in between bites of pizza soon after her release. “The people who were 40 at the time of Stonewall are now 80 and will be dying without equality.