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20-Year Veteran Pleads Guilty to Act of Civil Disobedience

Retired Naval Commander Leah Bolger pled guilty to the charge of Unlawful Conduct -- Disruption of Congress at a hearing before Judge Stuart Nash in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia Thursday, April 12th 2012.  Bolger, who is a peace activist and the President of Veterans For Peace, interrupted a public hearing of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, commonly known as the Super Committee on October 26th, 2011 .

In her statement to the Judge, Bolger said, "I have come to understand what millions of Americans already know—that the actual majority will of the people is of little concern to those in power.  We can demonstrate and petition and write letters until we are blue in the face, but those actions are virtually worthless, as we can't compete.  Our voice is drowned out by the power of the money coming from the lobbyists and corporate interests.  Money equals speech."

Though the maximum penalty for this infraction is 6 months in jail and/or a $750 fine, Judge Nash sentenced Bolger to 60 days incarceration and suspended that sentence.  He also required her to make a $50 payment to a victims of crime fund and to perform 20 hours of community service, which Bolger will perform by working 20 hours for Veterans for Peace.  She is on probation for nine months and faces the risk of having the 60-day sentence imposed, but says she is committed to continuing to speak out and protest, including when NATO comes to Chicago in May.


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