AG Offers Maunakea Protestors Plea Deals

October 20, 2019, 11:15 AM HST (Updated October 20, 2019, 10:47 AM)
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TMT protest, DAY 3, Wednesday, July 17, 2019. PC: Gerald Besson

Protesters arrested on Maunakea in mid-July and charged with obstruction have been offered plea deals.

The Hawai‘i Police Department arrested more than 30 people during the first week of a protest atop the mountain for blocking Maunakea Access Road in an attempt to stop the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).

The protest began over the summer and remains ongoing after more than three months.

The Hawai‘i Office of the Attorney General is handling the prosecution of the cases. Terms of the pleas it offered require each protestor arrested to pay a $100 fine, which would effectively close their cases, according to a report by the Associated Press.

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Obstruction is considered a petty misdemeanor under Hawai‘i law. The maximum penalty if convicted is 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

It was unknown as of Sunday how many of the protestors planned to accept the offer. They have until Friday, Oct. 25 to decide whether to accept the deal from prosecutors.

The court had set trials for late December. Those are now likely to be delayed into next year, the AP reported.

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