Judge grants bond for Southern Poverty Law Center attorney charged in Atlanta ‘Cop City’ domestic terrorism
A judge on Tuesday granted bond for a Southern Poverty Law Center employee and attorney among 23 defendants charged with domestic terrorism in connection to Atlanta’s “Cop City.”
Thomas Webb Jurgens, one of just two defendants from Georgia, claims to have been a legal observer on behalf of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) when a crowd of 50 to 100 people allegedly criminally trespassed on marked land, walked about a half mile through the forest and descended on the construction site of the future Atlanta Public Safety Training Center.
The group allegedly assaulted Atlanta police officers and Georgia State Patrol troopers with rocks, fireworks and Molotov cocktails. The warrants note multiple pieces of heavy machinery were set on fire and video of the incident was publicly posted on the group’s social media.
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Though prosecutors say the crowd dressed in camouflage or dark clothing and several defendants carried homemade metal shields, Jurgens’ defense lawyer told the judge Tuesday he was instead wearing a bright yellow hat with National Lawyers Guild written on it and a bright green shirt to show he was a legal observer.
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Though the state contends, “simply because you’re an attorney doesn’t mean you can’t commit a crime,” a prosecutor said they would consent to bond for Jurgens at this time.
In turn, Judge AW Davis did grant Jurgens’ bond, setting the amount at $5,000.
Jurgens’s attorney did say his client intended to post that amount and waived a preliminary hearing.
Davis denied bond for about a dozen other defendants as Tuesday’s hearing continued.
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Jurgens is one of just two of the 23 domestic terrorism suspects from Georgia. The rest are from 14 other states, as well as France and Canada.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said Monday that “violent activists attacked the future site of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, putting those in the surrounding community at risk.”
“They chose destruction and vandalism over legitimate protest, yet again demonstrating the radical intent behind their actions,” he said in a statement. “As I’ve said before, domestic terrorism will NOT be tolerated in this state.”