The Latest: No jail time for Missouri Capitol clergy protest

AP News
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Posted: Aug 18, 2016 12:30 PM

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Latest on the trial of 22 Missouri religious leaders convicted of trespassing for a 2014 protest in the Missouri Senate in support of Medicaid expansion (all times local):

11:30 a.m.

There will be no jail time for 22 religious leaders convicted of trespassing for a 2014 protest in the Missouri Senate.

Jurors on Thursday recommended the religious leaders be fined instead of sent to jail. The amount of the fine will be determined by Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green at a later date. It can be no higher than $500.

The religious leaders were convicted Wednesday of the trespassing charges but acquitted of charges of disrupting government operations.

Those on trial were among hundreds of activists who sang hymns and chanted during a May 2014 protest over lawmakers' refusal to expand Medicaid eligibility. Republican Senate leaders paused work as Capitol Police cleared the galleries.

Police arrested 23 clergy members who stayed; 22 of them were on trial this week.

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1:30 a.m.

Twenty-two Missouri clergy members have been convicted of trespassing in connection with a peaceful 2014 protest at the state Capitol but acquitted of charges of disrupting government operations.

Jurors returned the verdict Wednesday night after a two-day trial. Sentencing is set for Thursday. The defendants face a fine of up to $500 and up to six months behind bars.

Those on trial were among hundreds of activists who sang hymns and chanted during a May 2014 protest over lawmakers' refusal to expand Medicaid eligibility. Senate GOP leaders paused work as Capitol Police cleared the galleries.

Police arrested 23 clergy members who stayed, although only 22 were on trial Wednesday.

Several clergy members dressed in religious garments cried when the judge announced the not guilty verdict. They sat quietly when the misdemeanor trespassing verdict was announced.