Tortuga House Update: Pennsylvania Drops All Charges Against Madison & Wallschlager for Twittering

In the face of a PR nightmare, Pennsylvania authorities have withdrawn all charges against two members of Tortuga accused of using Twitter to aid protesters at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh.  At a hearing today, instead of oral arguments regarding a defense motion to unseal the secret 18-page affidavit authorizing the arrests of Elliott Madison and Michael Wallschlager at a motel just outside of Pittsburgh, the prosecution immediately moved to withdraw all charges against the two before the defense had a chance to argue its case.  Although clear from the beginning that these charges were absurd based on the State’s very own laws, our housemates were incarcerated for 36 hours, had their van towed and belongings confiscated, and one house member was given $30,000 in straight bail.

The District Attorney and his spokesperson were at pains to explain why the State would drop all charges against these dangerous twitterists and of course, refused to admit that these charges were unconstitutional and a heavy-handed attempt to scare anarchists and others from protesting in ways unsanctioned by the government.  Instead, the prosecution says they decided that pursuing the charges “would be unwise” after consulting other law enforcement agencies and because of other pending investigations. The secret affidavit authorizing the arrests in Pennsylvania is set to become public on Nov. 23rd. We imagine the Pennsylvania State Police will seek an extension to keep this document sealed—perhaps in order to hide the flimsiness of their secret evidence?  However, no matter the reason, we will fight to unseal this document and we will not let the State hide behind sealed evidence, obscure innuendo, and other traditional tactics used by secret police.

Though it is a victory that all the charges against our two housemates were dropped in Pennsylvania, we cannot forget that there is still a mysterious grand jury and other “ongoing investigations” out there. While we may be free from criminal proceedings now, we are still under the threat of future charges/indictments. What these might be, when they might happen, and what cause the State has is, of course, secret.  Although our only option is to wait and see, we refuse to let them go about their business ruining our lives in peace and quiet and will continue fighting them every step of the way.

For more information and updates, please go to friendsoftortuga.wordpress.com

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Tortuga House Update: Pennsylvania Drops All Charges Against Madison & Wallschlager for Twittering

  1. Jon

    What good news after such a harrowing experience! Of course this doesn’t make you whole, but what an excellent first step. We love you guys.

  2. That is fantastic news. I’m so pleased the charges have been dropped. Kudos to all involved for fighting so hard.

    It will be very interesting to see what this amazing sealed evidence is. I have my suspicions that it’s just a McDonalds menu sealed in a Manila envelope…

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  4. Pingback: All charges against the pittsburgh twitterers have been dropped! » Birds Before The Storm

  5. Ah good. I suppose I can rest a bit easier now, thinking that the Imperial black-bag snatch squads won’t be coming for me, for doing essentially the same Twitter-scanner routine.

    Somehow I don’t feel any safer, though.

  6. Awesome news – glad to hear that the kangaroo court is no longer in session on this one.

  7. Mike

    It’s still not over. There is a Fed thing still going on

  8. jason

    much love and support from philadelphia!

  9. Great news, and beautifully written. It was excellent support and a great show of solidarity that made this happen. Let’s show the same support to all political prisoners and those in the hot seat.

    I especially liked this piece, as our friends out here in California known as the AETA4 are currently facing charges for allegedly attending demonstrations, with a grand jury targeting their former room-mate and possibly others, and the threat of further state terror with other ‘ongoing investigations.’ Beautifully written:
    “Though it is a victory that all the charges against our two housemates were dropped in Pennsylvania, we cannot forget that there is still a mysterious grand jury and other “ongoing investigations” out there. While we may be free from criminal proceedings now, we are still under the threat of future charges/indictments. What these might be, when they might happen, and what cause the State has is, of course, secret. Although our only option is to wait and see, we refuse to let them go about their business ruining our lives in peace and quiet and will continue fighting them every step of the way.”

  10. anyone

    I just wondered what compensation you got for the smashed front door and other damages?

  11. its great news………….stay strong and live long.

  12. Pingback: Mythmakers & Lawbreakers: Anarchist Writers on Fiction | Pittsburgh Alpha to Omega

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