Day two: oral argument
Today was a beautiful day of testimony by all of the four necessity valve turners. The jury was instructed and opening statements were made.
Brenna led off as she has previously sharing the principles of the Catholic worker and the faith that inspired this action. Her testimony also let us know that there was going to be some significant pushback on the topic of tar sands.
Michele was up next and gave moving testimony, including becoming aware of climate change while working with Christian Peacemaking Teams in Iraq. This is where the objections began from the prosecution. Still, Michele spoke eloquently to the poison of pipelines and the power of the action and role of water protectors. When asked how she could be sure about the content of the pipelines she expressed she was sure it was fossil fuels.
Daniel rounded out the pre-lunch crowd speaking to the science of climate change and the need to act on behalf of the next generation. Daniel pushed back against the objections that it would be impossible to know if the oil moving through the pipeline was tar sands oil.
There was a break for lunch. Following, Allyson talked about the beauty of soil ecosystems and the need to take this action. The banner she made was displayed and she was able to read the statement in our “about“ page verbatim. She was able to speak to tar sands oil as she stated that this was what the valveturners told enbridge— that the tar sands oil had been turned off in pipelines 3 & 4. She also was able to speak eloquently to the safety of the methodology of having enbridge turn off the pipeline. This wrapped up the oral argument and we closed for the day.
The final element of the trial today was a motion to acquit by lawyer Tim Phillips. This motion was based on the principle that no one had been accused of committing the crime -- all four necessity valve turners had aided and abetted the other three. This statement had been made earlier in the day by the prosecution in an effort to open the door to convicting all or any valve turners with taking principle action (committing the misdemeanor individually). The judge is considering this argument overnight and acquittal will be discussed in the morning.
If not acquitted, the closing arguments and final instruction to the jury will be given in the morning and then the jury will go into deliberation until a decision is reached. Follow our twitter feed @4necessity tomorrow for live updates.