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Witness disputes sex assault charges against gay lieutenant

Coast Guard officer says gay Marine was ‘willing participant’

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Joshua Seefried, gay news, Washington Blade
Joshua Seefried, gay news, Washington Blade

A Marine has accused Air Force Lt. Joshua Seefried of a sexual assault in 2012. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A U.S. Coast Guard officer thought to be a lead prosecution witness in the sexual assault case against gay Air Force Lt. Joshua Seefried testified at a military hearing on Wednesday that Seefried’s accuser was a “willing participant” in a three-way sexual encounter with him and Seefried at a New York hotel room in 2012.

Coast Guard Lt. Commander John Fiorentine’s Jan. 28 testimony came at a reopened pre-court martial proceeding known as an Article 32 hearing for Seefried at Andrews Air Force Base.

Among other things, he said he, Seefried and the Marine – who has the rank of 2nd lieutenant and who’s the alleged victim in the case — ended up in Seefried’s Manhattan hotel room on May 26, 2012 after a day of heavy drinking and socializing at a restaurant with other gay military officers.

“We got into bed – the three of us,” Fiorentine said in response to a question by Capt. Robert Collins, one of the Air Force prosecutors in the case.

“Can you describe what happened next?” asked Collins.

“Non-penetrative sexual contact between me and Josh and [the Marine],” Fiorentine replied.

“Were you all three nude?” asked Collins.

“Yes,” said Fiorentine.

“It’s very hazy,” he continued. “Heavy kissing between Josh and myself and [the Marine] – oral sex with Josh and [the Marine] and me…At some point I pass out and fall asleep.”

Seefried, the Marine and Fiorentine were among a group of seven gay military officers stationed in different parts of the country that traveled to New York that weekend to celebrate Fleet Week, an annual event in which Navy and Coast Guard ships dock in a major U.S. city. They were also celebrating the repeal of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law.

Seefried several years earlier founded OutServe, a group of then closeted gays in the military who worked behind the scenes to lobby for the repeal of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law. Several of the other gay officers who gathered in New York for Fleet Week, including the Marine, knew Seefried through his work with OutServe, people familiar with the case have said.

In response to questioning by defense attorney Richard Stevens, Fiorentine testified at the hearing on Wednesday that he later witnessed what he believed to be a consensual sexual encounter in the hotel room between Seefried and the Marine after the earlier three-way encounter.

He said the second encounter took place after the three men slept in the bed for a few hours and after he got out of bed to take a phone call from his former boyfriend.

Just before he left the room, he testified, he saw Seefried “stimulating” the Marine and placing the Marine’s penis on his [Seefried’s] anus.

“I believe [the Marine] was a willing participant,” he said in response to a question by defense attorney Stevens.

Seefried, through his attorney, has so far exercised his right not to make statements about the allegations against him. Gay activist Lane Hudson, a friend of Seefried’s who attended Wednesday’s hearing, said Seefried was hopeful that his name would be cleared either through a favorable recommendation by the investigative officer presiding over the reopened Article 32 hearing or in a subsequent court martial.

The Marine initially accused Fiorentine of sexually assaulting him in the hotel room after returning to his military base in Hawaii. An Air Force investigating officer conducting an Article 32 hearing for Fiorentine found insufficient evidence to take the case to court martial, and authorities dropped the case against Fiorentine.

The Marine then accused Seefried, a prominent advocate for the rights of gays in the military, with performing sexual acts on him in the hotel room, saying he was intoxicated and unable to give consent.

Last year, two years after the alleged incident occurred, Air Force authorities charged Seefried with wrongful sexual contact, forcible sodomy and abusive sexual contact in connection with the Marine’s allegations.

Sources familiar with the case said the Marine told investigators that he became so intoxicated at the New York restaurant that he had no memory of how he got from the restaurant to Seefried’s hotel room and what had happened until he woke up naked in the bed with Seefried and Fiorentine.

Fiorentine, in his testimony on Wednesday, disputed the Marine’s claim that he was incapable of consenting to the sexual encounters. In response to questions from both Stevens and prosecutor Collins, Fiorentine said at no time while he was in the hotel room did he participate in or witness any acts of “anal penetration.”

The others present at the restaurant reportedly told investigators that at Seefried’s invitation most of them, including the Marine and Fiorentine, walked about a mile from the restaurant to Seefried’s hotel and continued socializing at the hotel’s spa and hot tub. Some of those who went to the spa and hot tub area told investigators they saw Seefried and the Marine “making out” in the hot tub in what appeared to be a consenting display of affection, sources familiar with the case have said.

The Marine reportedly told investigators that when he later woke up in Seefried’s room he could not find all of his clothes or his cell phone and felt he had no choice but to stay in the hotel room until he contacted others to find out where his cell phone was.

Sources familiar with the case say that the Marine testified at the first Article 32 hearing for Seefried in August that at some point he got partially dressed and left Seefried’s room to look for his phone. Fiorentine testified on Wednesday that the Marine approached him in the hotel lobby area to ask him if he knew where he could find his phone.

Fiorentine testified on Wednesday that he told the Marine to look in the area of the spa and hot tubs, which is where he said the Marine was prior to joining him and Seefried in Seefried’s room.

During their conversation at that time, Fiorentine testified on Wednesday that the Marine appeared alert and wasn’t showing any obvious effects of being intoxicated.

But the Marine told investigators that he then returned to Seefried’s hotel room, used Seefried’s iPad to try to track down his phone before getting back into bed – all while still in a state of intoxication.

It was at that time, while in bed, that Seefried allegedly performed oral sex on him without consent and placed his [the Marine’s] penis on Seefried’s anus, according to statements he made to investigators.

Sources say the Marine reportedly told investigators that he believes he showed his unwillingness to participate in the sexual encounter with Seefried by lying still on the bed without saying anything.

Similar to Fiorentine’s case, the investigating officer presiding over an Article 32 hearing for Seefried last August concluded that insufficient evidence existed to obtain a conviction in a court martial. The investigating officer, Col. Robert Preston, recommended that the case not be brought before a court martial. Preston also presided over Wednesday’s reopened Article 32 hearing.

In an action considered controversial, Major General Darryl Burke, commander of the Air Force District of Washington, overruled Preston’s recommendation and ordered that the case go to trial in a court martial, which was scheduled for Jan. 26.

The court martial was postponed indefinitely in December after an Air Force judge granted a motion introduced by defense attorney Stevens to reopen the Article 32 hearing to give the defense an opportunity to question Fiorentine.

Fiorentine invoked his right to refuse to testify on grounds of self-incrimination at Seefried’s initial Article 32 hearing in August after Burke refused his request for immunity from prosecution over statements he would make if he testified at the proceeding.

Burke has since granted him that immunity, enabling him to testify at the Jan. 28 hearing at Andrews.

Under an agreement with prosecutors and the defense, Preston closed part of the Jan. 28 hearing to the public so that matters deemed improper for public disclosure, such as private information pertaining to witnesses or the Marine, could be discussed. The closed part of the hearing lasted about 40 minutes.

Preston said he wanted to wait until a full transcript of the hearing was completed before making his recommendation on whether or not the case should go to court martial.

Similar to the earlier Article 32 hearing for Seefried, Gen. Burke is charged with making a final decision on whether to follow or reject Preston’s decision on whether the case should go to court martial.

At a hearing in December in which the defense moved to reopen the Article 32 hearing to listen to Fiorentine’s testimony, attorney Stevens questioned Burke over whether his decision to take the case to court martial was due to outside political pressure. Stevens noted that at least two Air Force generals in the past few years had lost their jobs after they decided against bringing an Air Force member charged with sexual assault to a court martial.

Burke, who testified by a phone hookup, said he based his decision to take the case to court martial on advice from military lawyers, but acknowledged that he was aware of the concerns raised by members of Congress and others that the military may not have been prosecuting sexual assault cases aggressively enough.

Among other issues raised by Preston at the time of the August hearing were statements by the other gay officers who had been with the Marine at the restaurant and later at the spa and hot tub at the hotel where Seefried had been staying, that the Marine asked them what he had been doing. Preston reportedly stated in his Article 32 recommendation that it could not be clearly determined whether the Marine’s account of what happened was based on his own observations or potentially faulty information he obtained in talking to others.

Preston reportedly also said in his report that the Marine, who had a security clearance, could possibly have claimed he was sexually assaulted to deflect attention away from regulations that could lead to revocation of his clearance on grounds of improper behavior such as intoxication.

According to Fiorentine, he witnessed the later sexual encounter in the hotel room between Seefried and the Marine after he was awakened by a phone call from his ex-boyfriend. He said he got out of bed, got dressed and was about to leave the room. He said his former boyfriend reminded him of a commitment he made to visit his parents, who live in the New York City area.

While acknowledging that the Marine, like he and Seefried, had consumed an unknown number of mimosas at the restaurant earlier in the day, he testified that the Marine “was not passed out” and appeared to be alert during the sexual encounters in the hotel room.

Capt. Collins, the prosecuting attorney, repeatedly pressed Fiorentine at Wednesday’s hearing on whether Seefried could have engaged in sex with the Marine while he was either asleep or out of the room.

He also pressed Fiorentine on whether he witnessed “anal penetration,” which must be proved in order to uphold the forcible sodomy charge pending against Seefried.

“Do you remember penetrating [the Marine] or Lt. Seefried?” Collins asked him.

“No, I don’t remember penetrating them or they penetrating me,” he said.

“Do you recall Lt. Seefried penetrating [the Marine]? Collins asked.

“No, not at that moment,” Fiorentine replied.

Upon further questioning by both Collins and Stevens, Fiorentine acknowledged that Seefried and the Marine could have engaged in sex while he was either asleep or after he left the hotel room.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Ron Donaghe

    January 30, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    Sounds like the Marine has some self-loathing issues to take care of. I wish him the best, but turning on a sexual liaison after the fact is not the way to handle sex-guilt.

  2. Will Kohler

    January 31, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    Sounds more like the Blade is spinning to help Seefried who's an A-gay by using the testimony of someone who is accused of being involved. Like he would say that something happened.

  3. Matthew Clark

    February 1, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    good article, Lou. read it and then saw who wrote it. met you at the hotel restaurant when you interviewed Daniel D.

  4. Matthew Clark

    February 1, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    good article, Lou. read it and then saw who wrote it. met you at the hotel restaurant when you interviewed Daniel D.

  5. Anonymous

    February 2, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    This is all obviously a lie. Anyone who has had any substantial exposure to Marines knows the idea of having one be a top either consentually or under duress is silly. Drunk or sober, Marines are bottoms.

  6. Keith Daniels

    February 4, 2015 at 1:47 am

    Well, obviously this witness cannot testify to what was occurring or not occurring while he was asleep or not in the room. So: The scintilla of doubt still remains as to there being nothing illegal occurring. I will admit that the three-way encounter, especially in the context of NYC Fleet Week, may arguably be titillating to SOME. In any case, I personally am not quite sure that this particular alleged victim TRULy does not recall how he ended up in the bed in question: I mean,, there is no allegation that he was given a date-rape drug or such: Maybe it is a case of post-intoxication partial amnesia or something like that, I really cannot say.

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Equality Act, contorted as a danger by anti-LGBTQ forces, is all but dead

No political willpower to force vote or reach a compromise

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Despite having President Biden in the White House and Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress, efforts to update federal civil rights laws to strengthen the prohibition on discrimination against LGBTQ people by passing the Equality Act are all but dead as opponents of the measure have contorted it beyond recognition.

Political willpower is lacking to find a compromise that would be acceptable to enough Republican senators to end a filibuster on the bill — a tall order in any event — nor is there the willpower to force a vote on the Equality Act as opponents stoke fears about transgender kids in sports and not even unanimity in the Democratic caucus in favor of the bill is present, stakeholders who spoke to the Blade on condition of anonymity said.

In fact, there are no imminent plans to hold a vote on the legislation even though Pride month is days away, which would be an opportune time for Congress to demonstrate solidarity with the LGBTQ community by holding a vote on the legislation.

If the Equality Act were to come up for a Senate vote in the next month, it would not have the support to pass. Continued assurances that bipartisan talks are continuing on the legislation have yielded no evidence of additional support, let alone the 10 Republicans needed to end a filibuster.

“I haven’t really heard an update either way, which is usually not good,” one Democratic insider said. “My understanding is that our side was entrenched in a no-compromise mindset and with [Sen. Joe] Manchin saying he didn’t like the bill, it doomed it this Congress. And the bullying of hundreds of trans athletes derailed our message and our arguments of why it was broadly needed.”

The only thing keeping the final nail from being hammered into the Equality Act’s coffin is the unwillingness of its supporters to admit defeat. Other stakeholders who spoke to the Blade continued to assert bipartisan talks are ongoing, strongly pushing back on any conclusion the legislation is dead.

Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said the Equality Act is “alive and well,” citing widespread public support he said includes “the majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents and a growing number of communities across the country engaging and mobilizing every day in support of the legislation.”

“They understand the urgent need to pass this bill and stand up for LGBTQ people across our country,” David added. “As we engage with elected officials, we have confidence that Congress will listen to the voices of their constituents and continue fighting for the Equality Act through the lengthy legislative process.  We will also continue our unprecedented campaign to grow the already-high public support for a popular bill that will save lives and make our country fairer and more equal for all. We will not stop until the Equality Act is passed.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), chief sponsor of the Equality Act in the Senate, also signaled through a spokesperson work continues on the legislation, refusing to give up on expectations the legislation would soon become law.

“Sen. Merkley and his staff are in active discussions with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to try to get this done,” McLennan said. “We definitely see it as a key priority that we expect to become law.”

A spokesperson Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who had promised to force a vote on the Equality Act in the Senate on the day the U.S. House approved it earlier this year, pointed to a March 25 “Dear Colleague” letter in which he identified the Equality Act as one of several bills he’d bring up for a vote.

Despite any assurances, the hold up on the bill is apparent. Although the U.S. House approved the legislation earlier this year, the Senate Judiciary Committee hasn’t even reported out the bill yet to the floor in the aftermath of the first-ever Senate hearing on the bill in March. A Senate Judiciary Committee Democratic aide, however, disputed that inaction as evidence the Equality Act is dead in its tracks: “Bipartisan efforts on a path forward are ongoing.”

Democrats are quick to blame Republicans for inaction on the Equality Act, but with Manchin withholding his support for the legislation they can’t even count on the entirety of their caucus to vote “yes” if it came to the floor. Progressives continue to advocate an end to the filibuster to advance legislation Biden has promised as part of his agenda, but even if they were to overcome headwinds and dismantle the institution needing 60 votes to advance legislation, the Equality Act would likely not have majority support to win approval in the Senate with a 50-50 party split.

The office of Manchin, who has previously said he couldn’t support the Equality Act over concerns about public schools having to implement the transgender protections applying to sports and bathrooms, hasn’t responded to multiple requests this year from the Blade on the legislation and didn’t respond to a request to comment for this article.

Meanwhile, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who declined to co-sponsor the Equality Act this year after having signed onto the legislation in the previous Congress, insisted through a spokesperson talks are still happening across the aisle despite the appearances the legislation is dead.

“There continues to be bipartisan support for passing a law that protects the civil rights of Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Annie Clark, a Collins spokesperson. “The Equality Act was a starting point for negotiations, and in its current form, it cannot pass. That’s why there are ongoing discussions among senators and stakeholders about a path forward.”

Let’s face it: Anti-LGBTQ forces have railroaded the debate by making the Equality Act about an end to women’s sports by allowing transgender athletes and danger to women in sex-segregated places like bathrooms and prisons. That doesn’t even get into resolving the issue on drawing the line between civil rights for LGBTQ people and religious freedom, which continues to be litigated in the courts as the U.S. Supreme Court is expected any day now to issue a ruling in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia to determine if foster care agencies can reject same-sex couples over religious objections.

For transgender Americans, who continue to report discrimination and violence at high rates, the absence of the Equality Act may be most keenly felt.

Mara Keisling, outgoing executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, disputed any notion the Equality Act is dead and insisted the legislation is “very much alive.”

“We remain optimistic despite misinformation from the opposition,” Keisling said. “NCTE and our movement partners are still working fruitfully on the Equality Act with senators. In fact, we are gaining momentum with all the field organizing we’re doing, like phone banking constituents to call their senators. Legislating takes time. Nothing ever gets through Congress quickly. We expect to see a vote during this Congress, and we are hopeful we can win.”

But one Democratic source said calls to members of Congress against the Equality Act, apparently coordinated by groups like the Heritage Foundation, have has outnumbered calls in favor of it by a substantial margin, with a particular emphasis on Manchin.

No stories are present in the media about same-sex couples being kicked out of a restaurant for holding hands or transgender people for using the restroom consistent with their gender identity, which would be perfectly legal in 25 states thanks to the patchwork of civil rights laws throughout the United States and inadequate protections under federal law.

Tyler Deaton, senior adviser for the American Unity Fund, which has bolstered the Republican-led Fairness for All Act as an alternative to the Equality Act, said he continues to believe the votes are present for a compromise form of the bill.

“I know for a fact there is a supermajority level of support in the Senate for a version of the Equality Act that is fully protective of both LGBTQ civil rights and religious freedom,” Deaton said. “There is interest on both sides of the aisle in getting something done this Congress.”

Deaton, however, didn’t respond to a follow-up inquiry on what evidence exists of agreeing on this compromise.

Biden has already missed the goal he campaigned on in the 2020 election to sign the Equality Act into law within his first 100 days in office. Although Biden renewed his call to pass the legislation in his speech to Congress last month, as things stand now that appears to be a goal he won’t realize for the remainder of this Congress.

Nor has the Biden administration made the Equality Act an issue for top officials within the administration as it pushes for an infrastructure package as a top priority. One Democratic insider said Louisa Terrell, legislative affairs director for the White House, delegated work on the Equality Act to a deputy as opposed to handling it herself.

To be sure, Biden has demonstrated support for the LGBTQ community through executive action at an unprecedented rate, signing an executive order on day one ordering federal agencies to implement the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year in Bostock v. Clayton County to the fullest extent possible and dismantling former President Trump’s transgender military ban. Biden also made historic LGBTQ appointments with the confirmation of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Rachel Levine as assistant secretary of health.

A White House spokesperson insisted Biden’s team across the board remains committed to the Equality Act, pointing to his remarks to Congress.

“President Biden has urged Congress to get the Equality Act to his desk so he can sign it into law and provide long overdue civil rights protections to LGBTQ+ Americans, and he remains committed to seeing this legislation passed as quickly as possible,” the spokesperson said. “The White House and its entire legislative team remains in ongoing and close coordination with organizations, leaders, members of Congress, including the Equality Caucus, and staff to ensure we are working across the aisle to push the Equality Act forward.”

But at least in the near-term, that progress will fall short of fulfilling the promise of updating federal civil rights law with the Equality Act, which will mean LGBTQ people won’t be able to rely on those protections when faced with discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

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D.C. bill to ban LGBTQ panic defense delayed by Capitol security

Delivery of bill to Congress was held up due to protocols related to Jan. 6 riots

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New fencing around the Capitol following the Jan. 6 insurrection prevented some D.C. bills from being delivered to the Hill for a required congressional review. (Blade file photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A bill approved unanimously last December by the D.C. Council to ban the so-called LGBTQ panic defense has been delayed from taking effect as a city law because the fence installed around the U.S. Capitol following the Jan. 6 insurrection prevented the law from being delivered to Congress.

According to Eric Salmi, communications director for D.C. Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), who guided the bill through the Council’s legislative process, all bills approved by the Council and signed by the D.C. mayor must be hand-delivered to Congress for a required congressional review.

“What happened was when the Capitol fence went up after the January insurrection, it created an issue where we physically could not deliver laws to Congress per the congressional review period,” Salmi told the Washington Blade.

Among the bills that could not immediately be delivered to Congress was the Bella Evangelista and Tony Hunter Panic Defense Prohibition and Hate Crimes Response Amendment Act of 2020, which was approved by the Council on a second and final vote on Dec. 15.

Between the time the bill was signed by Mayor Muriel Bowser and published in the D.C. Register under procedural requirements for all bills, it was not ready to be transmitted to Congress until Feb. 16, the Council’s legislative record for the bill shows.

Salmi said the impasse in delivering the bill to Congress due to the security fence prevented the bill from reaching Congress on that date and prevented the mandatory 60-day congressional review period for this bill from beginning at that time. He noted that most bills require a 30 legislative day review by Congress.

But the Evangelista-Hunter bill, named after a transgender woman and a gay man who died in violent attacks by perpetrators who attempted to use the trans and gay panic defense, includes a law enforcement related provision that under the city’s Home Rule Charter passed by Congress in the early 1970s requires a 60-day congressional review.

“There is a chance it goes into effect any day now, just given the timeline is close to being up,” Salmi said on Tuesday. “I don’t know the exact date it was delivered, but I do know the countdown is on,” said Salmi, who added, “I would expect any day now it should go into effect and there’s nothing stopping it other than an insurrection in January.”

If the delivery to Congress had not been delayed, the D.C. Council’s legislative office estimated the congressional review would have been completed by May 12.

A congressional source who spoke on condition of being identified only as a senior Democratic aide, said the holdup of D.C. bills because of the Capitol fence has been corrected.

“The House found an immediate workaround, when this issue first arose after the Jan. 6 insurrection,” the aide said.

“This is yet another reason why D.C. Council bills should not be subject to a congressional review period and why we need to grant D.C. statehood,” the aide said.

The aide added that while no disapproval resolution had been introduced in Congress to overturn the D.C. Evangelista-Hunter bill, House Democrats would have defeated such a resolution.

“House Democrats support D.C. home rule, statehood, and LGBTQ rights,” said the aide.

LGBTQ rights advocates have argued that a ban on using a gay or transgender panic defense in criminal trials is needed to prevent defense attorneys from inappropriately asking juries to find that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression is to blame for a defendant’s criminal act, including murder.

Some attorneys have argued that their clients “panicked” after discovering the person against whom they committed a violent crime was gay or transgender, prompting them to act in a way they believed to be a form of self-defense.

In addition to its provision banning the LGBTQ panic defense, the Evangelista-Hunter bill includes a separate provision that strengthens the city’s existing hate crimes law by clarifying that hatred need not be the sole motivating factor for an underlying crime such as assault, murder, or threats to be prosecuted as a hate crime.

LGBTQ supportive prosecutors have said the clarification was needed because it is often difficult to prove to a jury that hatred is the only motive behind a violent crime. The prosecutors noted that juries have found defendants not guilty of committing a hate crime on grounds that they believed other motives were involved in a particular crime after defense lawyers argued that the law required “hate” to be the only motive in order to find someone guilty of a hate crime.

Salmi noted that while the hate crime clarification and panic defense prohibition provisions of the Evangelista-Hunter bill will become law as soon as the congressional review is completed, yet another provision in the bill will not become law after the congressional review because there are insufficient funds in the D.C. budget to cover the costs of implementing the provision.

The provision gives the D.C. Office of Human Rights and the Office of the D.C. Attorney General authority to investigate hate related discrimination at places of public accommodation. Salmi said the provision expands protections against discrimination to include web-based retailers or online delivery services that are not physically located in D.C.

“That is subject to appropriations,” Salmi said. “And until it is funded in the upcoming budget it cannot be legally enforced.”

He said that at Council member Allen’s request, the Council added language to the bill that ensures that all other provisions of the legislation that do not require additional funding – including the ban on use of the LGBTQ panic defense and the provision clarifying that hatred doesn’t have to be the sole motive for a hate crime – will take effect as soon as the congressional approval process is completed.

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D.C. man charged with 2020 anti-gay death threat rearrested

Defendant implicated in three anti-LGBTQ incidents since 2011

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shooting, DC Eagle, assault, hate crime, anti-gay attack, police discrimination, sex police, Sisson, gay news, Washington Blade

A D.C. man arrested in August 2020 for allegedly threatening to kill a gay man outside the victim’s apartment in the city’s Adams Morgan neighborhood and who was released while awaiting trial was arrested again two weeks ago for allegedly threatening to kill another man in an unrelated incident.

D.C. Superior Court records show that Jalal Malki, who was 37 at the time of his 2020 arrest on a charge of bias-related attempts to do bodily harm against the gay man, was charged on May 4, 2021 with unlawful entry, simple assault, threats to kidnap and injure a person, and attempted possession of a prohibited weapon against the owner of a vacant house at 4412 Georgia Ave., N.W.

Court charging documents state that Malki was allegedly staying at the house without permission as a squatter. An arrest affidavit filed in court by D.C. police says Malki allegedly threatened to kill the man who owns the house shortly after the man arrived at the house while Malki was inside.

According to the affidavit, Malki walked up to the owner of the house while the owner was sitting in his car after having called police and told him, “If you come back here, I’m going to kill you.” While making that threat Malki displayed what appeared to be a gun in his waistband, but which was later found to be a toy gun, the affidavit says.

Malki then walked back inside the house minutes before police arrived and arrested him. Court records show that similar to the court proceedings following his 2020 arrest for threatening the gay man, a judge in the latest case ordered Malki released while awaiting trial. In both cases, the judge ordered him to stay away from the two men he allegedly threatened to kill.

An arrest affidavit filed by D.C. police in the 2020 case states that Malki allegedly made the threats inside an apartment building where the victim lived on the 2300 block of Champlain Street, N.W. It says Malki was living in a nearby building but often visited the building where the victim lived.

“Victim 1 continued to state during an interview that it was not the first time that Defendant 1 had made threats to him, but this time Defendant 1 stated that if he caught him outside, he would ‘fucking kill him.’” the affidavit says. It quotes the victim as saying during this time Malki repeatedly called the victim a “fucking faggot.”

The affidavit, prepared by the arresting officers, says that after the officers arrested Malki and were leading him to a police transport vehicle to be booked for the arrest, he expressed an “excited utterance” that he was “in disbelief that officers sided with the ‘fucking faggot.’”

Court records show that Malki is scheduled to appear in court on June 4 for a status hearing for both the 2020 arrest and the arrest two weeks ago for allegedly threatening to kill the owner of the house in which police say he was illegally squatting.

Superior Court records show that Malki had been arrested three times between 2011 and 2015 in cases unrelated to the 2021 and 2020 cases for allegedly also making threats of violence against people. Two of the cases appear to be LGBTQ related, but prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office did not list the cases as hate crimes.

In the first of the three cases, filed in July 2011, Malki allegedly shoved a man inside Dupont Circle and threatened to kill him after asking the man why he was wearing a purple shirt.

“Victim 1 believes the assault occurred because Suspect 1 believes Victim 1 is a homosexual,” the police arrest affidavit says.

Court records show prosecutors charged Malki with simple assault and threats to do bodily harm in the case. But the court records show that on Sept. 13, 2011, D.C. Superior Court Judge Stephen F. Eilperin found Malki not guilty on both charges following a non-jury trial.

The online court records do not state why the judge rendered a not guilty verdict. With the courthouse currently closed to the public and the press due to COVID-related restrictions, the Washington Blade couldn’t immediately obtain the records to determine the judge’s reason for the verdict.

In the second case, court records show Malki was arrested by D.C. police outside the Townhouse Tavern bar and restaurant at 1637 R St., N.W. on Nov. 7, 2012 for allegedly threatening one or more people with a knife after employees ordered Malki to leave the establishment for “disorderly behavior.”

At the time, the Townhouse Tavern was located next door to the gay nightclub Cobalt, which before going out of business two years ago, was located at the corner of 17th and R Streets, N.W.

The police arrest affidavit in the case says Malki allegedly pointed a knife in a threatening way at two of the tavern’s employees who blocked his path when he attempted to re-enter the tavern. The affidavit says he was initially charged by D.C. police with assault with a dangerous weapon – knife. Court records, however, show that prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office lowered the charges to two counts of simple assault. The records show that on Jan. 15, 2013, Malki pleaded guilty to the two charges as part of a plea bargain arrangement.

The records show that Judge Marissa Demeo on that same day issued a sentence of 30 days for each of the two charges but suspended all 30 days for both counts. She then sentenced Malki to one year of supervised probation for both charges and ordered that he undergo alcohol and drug testing and undergo treatment if appropriate.

In the third case prior to the 2020 and 2021 cases, court records show Malki was arrested outside the Cobalt gay nightclub on March 14, 2015 on multiple counts of simple assault, attempted assault with a dangerous weapon – knife, possession of a prohibited weapon – knife, and unlawful entry.

The arrest affidavit says an altercation started on the sidewalk outside the bar when for unknown reasons, Malki grabbed a female customer who was outside smoking and attempted to pull her toward him. When her female friend came to her aid, Malki allegedly got “aggressive” by threatening the woman and “removed what appeared to be a knife from an unknown location” and pointed it at the woman’s friend in a threatening way, the affidavit says.

It says a Cobalt employee minutes later ordered Malki to leave the area and he appeared to do so. But others noticed that he walked toward another entrance door to Cobalt and attempted to enter the establishment knowing he had been ordered not to return because of previous problems with his behavior, the affidavit says. When he attempted to push away another employee to force his way into Cobalt, Malki fell to the ground during a scuffle and other employees held him on the ground while someone else called D.C. police.

Court records show that similar to all of Malki’s arrests, a judge released him while awaiting trial and ordered him to stay away from Cobalt and all of those he was charged with threatening and assaulting.

The records show that on Sept. 18, 2015, Malki agreed to a plea bargain offer by prosecutors in which all except two of the charges – attempted possession of a prohibited weapon and simple assault – were dropped. Judge Alfred S. Irving Jr. on Oct. 2, 2015 sentenced Malki to 60 days of incarnation for each of the two charges but suspended all but five days, which he allowed Malki to serve on weekends, the court records show.

The judge ordered that the two five-day jail terms could be served concurrently, meaning just five days total would be served, according to court records. The records also show that Judge Irving sentenced Malki to one year of supervised probation for each of the two counts and ordered that he enter an alcohol treatment program and stay away from Cobalt.

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