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Charges Dropped Against RT Reporter Arrested on Inauguration Day

© AFP 2021 / ZACH GIBSONPolice officers pepper spray a group of protestors before the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Police officers pepper spray a group of protestors before the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. - Sputnik International
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Felony riot charges against three journalists arrested while covering the Inauguration Day protests in Washington DC, were dropped by the US Attorney’s office on Monday.

Among those who were cleared was Alexander Rubinstein of RT whose charges included “incitement of riots,” independent journalist Matthew Hopard, and documentary producer John Keller.

"Our RT America correspondent has been cleared of all charges," RT said in a statement.

Those arrested during the riot were facing potential prison sentences of ten years and $25,000 fines.

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"After a review of evidence presented to us by law enforcement, we have concluded that we will not proceed with the charges against the three defendants, who are journalists," the order reads. "We are continuing to work with the Metropolitan Police Department to review evidence related to the arrests on Jan. 20. As in all of our cases, we are always willing to consider additional information that people bring forward. Because these matters remain pending in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, we have no comment on other specific individuals beyond our public filings. The charges against these three individuals have now been dismissed."

At least six journalists were arrested at the January 20 protest. Evan Engel, a senior producer at Vocativ was among those arrested, but had his charges cleared last week.

"After consultation with the counsel for Mr. Engel, who is a journalist with Vocativ, as well as a review of evidence presented to us by law enforcement, we have concluded that we will not proceed with the charge against this individual," Bill Miller, a spokesman for the District of Columbia office of the US Attorney's office, said in a statement last week.

Two others covering the event, Shay Horse, an independent photojournalist, and Aaron Cantú, a freelance journalist and activist, are still charged with felony rioting.

The office has not publicly commented on their status.

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