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District of Columbia

Plea deal for D.C. man charged with attack on gay Asian man, parents

U.S. Attorney offers to drop two of three hate crime designations



Sean Lai, 30, an out gay man of Chinese ancestry, was beaten last August. (Photo courtesy of Lai)

Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office have offered to lower two assault charges from a felony to a misdemeanor and to drop a bias-related crime designation for two of three assault charges pending against a D.C. man arrested for the Aug. 7, 2021, hate crime attack against gay Asian man Sean Lai and his parents in Northwest Washington.

According to a document filed on March 4 in D.C. Superior Court, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which serves as the lead prosecutor in most adult criminal cases in D.C., offered to lower the charges against Patrick Joseph Miller Trebat, 39, in exchange for his agreement to plead guilty to the reduced charges.

Court records show that the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Trebat’s attorney, Brandi Harden, are in “negotiations” presumably over the plea offer, with a felony status hearing scheduled for April 20. D.C. Superior Court Judge Michael O’Keefe, who is presiding over the case, was expected to ask the two parties at the April 20 hearing if an agreement over the plea deal has been reached.

The March 4 document filed in court by the U.S. Attorney’s Office disclosing the plea offer says the offer will expire on April 1, 2022.

Charging documents filed by D.C. police and the U.S. Attorney’s Office at the time of Trebat’s arrest last August state that Trebat allegedly attacked and assaulted Lai, an out gay man of Chinese ancestry, and his parents, who are also from China, while they were walking along the 3700 block of Fulton Street, N.W., near where they live.

The charging documents and a detailed arrest affidavit state that Sean Lai told D.C. police, who arrived on the scene as the incident was unfolding, that during the alleged attack Trebat called him and his parents, “faggots” and shouted, “You are not Americans!” A police report says Trebat also shouted, “Get out of my country.”

According to the police report, the family of three was transported to a local hospital for treatment of injuries listed as non-life threatening shortly after police arrested Trebat on the scene. The report and other charging documents say Trebat allegedly punched, kicked, and pushed all three family members, who at one point fell to the ground, causing various injuries.

Trebat, who lives in a Northwest D.C. apartment located near the scene of the attack, was released pending trial three days after his arrest under the court’s high intensity release program. The program imposed a nighttime curfew on Trebat and a strict order to stay away from the three people he is charged with assaulting.

The current charges pending against him include two counts of felony assault with significant bodily injury and one count of misdemeanor simple assault. Each of the three counts is designated with a bias-related enhancement based on the Asian “national origin” status of the victims.

For reasons it has declined to disclose, the U.S. Attorney’s Office chose not to include a sexual orientation bias-related designation for the assault charges filed against Trebat, even though the arrest affidavit states Trebat shouted the word “faggot” at Lai and his parents.

According to its March 4 plea bargain offer, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in exchange for a guilty plea by Trebat, will lower the two felony counts of assault with significant bodily injury to misdemeanor counts of simple assault. The offer would retain the existing single count of simple assault.

Under the D.C. Criminal Code, assault with significant bodily harm carries a maximum sentence upon conviction of three years in prison and a possible fine of $12,500. Simple assault carries a maximum sentence of 180 days in prison and a $1,000 fine.

The plea offer for Trebat also calls for withdrawing the bias-related designation for the simple assault counts pertaining to Lai and his mother while leaving just one bias-related count for the alleged assault against Lai’s father.

Under D.C.’s Bias Related Crimes Act, the conviction of a person charged with a crime with a bias-related enhancement allows a judge to increase the penalty, including a fine or jail sentence, by one-and-a-half times greater than the maximum penalty of the underlying crime such as assault.

One other provision in the plea offer gives prosecutors the option of asking the judge to order Trebat held in jail from the time he pleads guilty to the lower charges to the date when he is sentenced, which usually takes place a month or two after the plea is accepted. Another final provision says prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office are not including in the plea offer a promise to ask the judge to limit the length or severity of the sentence.  

Lai couldn’t immediately be reached for comment to obtain his and his parents’ reaction to the plea offer. Harden, Trebat’s attorney, did not respond to a phone message from the Blade asking whether Trebat will agree to the plea offer.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has a longstanding policy of not publicly disclosing its reasons for offering plea bargain deals to people charged with various crimes. Local attorneys practicing criminal law, including D.C. Attorney Jamison Koehler, have said prosecutors sometimes issue plea bargain offers if they believe there is a chance that a jury will find a defendant they are prosecuting not guilty in a trial.

A plea offer that is accepted by a defendant ensures that the defendant will at least be convicted of an offense, even if the charge is reduced, and eliminates the possibility of a complete acquittal by a jury, according to Koehler and other attorneys familiar with the criminal justice system.


District of Columbia

Capital Pride announces 2024 Pride honorees

Nine LGBTQ leaders, Destination DC to be honored



Iya Dammons is among this year’s Pride honorees. (Washington Blade file photo by Lou Chibbaro, Jr.)

Capital Pride Alliance, the group that organizes D.C.’s annual LGBTQ Pride events, has announced its selection of nine individuals and one D.C. organization as recipients of its annual honors awards recognizing outstanding service for the LGBTQ community and the cause of LGBTQ equality.

“Each year, the Capital Pride Alliance honors outstanding individuals, leaders, and activists in the National Capital Region who have furthered causes important to the LGBTQ+ community,” the group said in a statement. The statement says the honorees chosen this year “tirelessly contribute to our collective advocacy, outreach, education, and programming in support of our intersectional community.”

The awards were scheduled to be presented to the recipients at a Capital Pride Honors ceremony on Friday, May 31 at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md. A statement released by Capital Pride says the event will be hosted by WUSA9 TV news reporter Lorenzo Hall, with entertainment by special guests, including singer-songwriter Crystal Waters, DJ Honey, and the Black Leaves Dance Company.

The award recipients as released by Capital Pride Alliance include the following:

Hero Award recognizing  “individuals who have furthered the causes important to LGBTQ+ community in the national capital region” and “have brought about positive changes to our lives and our community.”

• Hope Gisselle, nationally recognized author, artist, and activist who advocates for LGBTQ rights through organizations she has been a part of, including her founding of a human resources organization called AllowMe and her current role as CEO and Executive Director of the National Trans Visibility March.

• Jamison Henninger, has served as leader of the D.C. Area Transmasculine Society, known as DCATS, a community-based organization that aids transmasculine individuals in the D.C. metro area, serves on the board of Trans Pride DC, and serves as a consultant for Gender Illumination, a nonprofit group.

• Kenya Hutton, a social justice, equity, HIV prevention, and sexual health advocate who has worked to address issues impacting communities affected by HIV and other health disparities for over 20 years. He currently serves as deputy director of the D.C.-based national LGBTQ organization Center for Black Equity and is set to become its acting CEO and executive director in August.

• Carol Jameson has worked for more than 35 years in Northern Virginia developing and administering programs that address health care disparities and provide access to health care services, including HIV/AIDS related services. She has served as executive director for NOVAM, a nonprofit group providing HIV prevention and HIV care for adolescents and young adults in Northern Virginia.

• Tula, an esthetician and hair stylist by day, has been a widely recognized drag performer for more than 30 years and host to D.C. cabaret shows. A former title holder and member of the Academy of Washington, D.C. drag organization, “she brings a plethora of stage experience to any show,” according to a Capital Pride writeup.

• Jose Alberto Ucles has been involved with a wide range of LGBTQ supportive events and projects both culturally and politically while working in his day job for the past 23 years as the Hispanic Outreach Spokesperson and Public Affairs Specialist for the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Some of his many involvements include past work with the Whitman-Walker Clinic, Capital Pride organizing in the 1990s, and currently a member of the Arts & Culture Committee for World Pride 2025 DC.

Breaking Barriers Community Impact Award recognizes individuals or organizations who have demonstrated significant impact on the LGBTQ+ community and helped eliminate barriers for social, personal or professional growth of the LGBTQ+ community.

• Iya Dammons, a widely recognized transgender and LGBTQ rights advocate is the founding Executive Director of DC Safe Haven and Maryland Safe Haven, the nonprofit organizations credited with providing support and services for LGBTQ people experiencing homelessness, substance use problems at risk of an overdose, and discrimination based on their gender identity or sexual orientation.

The Bill Miles Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service acknowledges exemplary contributions to the Capital Pride Alliance and its programs, initiatives or other Pride sponsored activities.

• Bryan Davis is an accomplished Sign Language interpreter trained at D.C.’s Gallaudet University who currently serves as Volunteer Chair with Capital Pride Alliance and previously has served as Executive Producer and Chair for Accessibility and Interpreter Coordinator for Capital Pride.

• William Hawkins has since 2017 been a committed volunteer for Capital Pride as part of its production team and as Executive Producer of Health and Safety and later as Health and Safety Chair. He is credited with helping to form alliances with G.W. Hospital, the D.C. Fire & Emergency Medical Services Department, and the D.C. Licensing Division.

Larry Stansbury Award for Exemplary Contributions to Pride recognizes outstanding efforts related to programs and initiatives of the annual Capital Pride Alliance or Pride movement.

• Destination DC, a private, nonprofit corporation, serves as the lead organization to successfully manage and market Washington, D.C. as a premier global convention, tourism, and special events destination, with a special emphasis on the arts, cultural and historical communities. It is credited with generating economic development for the city through visitor spending.

Further details about the Capital Pride honorees and the May 31 event, including availability of admission tickets, can be accessed at their website.

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District of Columbia

D.C. mayor to hold 2nd annual LGBTQ flag raising ceremony

Event set for June 3 outside District Building



Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks at last year's flag ceremony outside of the John A. Wilson Building. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs announced this week the mayor will lead the city’s second annual LGBTQIA+ Flag Raising Ceremony at 4 p.m. on June 3 outside the John A. Wilson Building at 1350 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., which serves as the D.C. government’s city hall.

“We are delighted to invite you to the LGBTQIA+ Flag Raising Ceremony, a significant event celebrating the visibility and diversity of our LGBTQIA+ community,” said Japer Bowles, director of the Mayor’s LGBTQ Affairs Office, in a May 21 statement.

“Join us as we raise the LGBTQIA+ flag alongside Mayor Muriel Bowser, D.C. Council members, and community leaders,” Bowles said in the statement. “This event is free and open to the public, and we encourage everyone to attend,” the statement says.

“Washington, D.C. is proud to be a leader in LGBTQIA+ rights and advocacy,” the statement adds. “This ceremony symbolizes our ongoing commitment to equality and the vibrant diversity of our community.”

The event was expected to take place on the sidewalk in front of the Wilson building at the site of its flagpole.

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District of Columbia

Capital Stonewall Democrats clarifies ‘no endorsement’ of Pinto

Says it postponed action on Ward 2 D.C. race until November



D.C. Council member Brooke Pinto. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The president of the Capital Stonewall Democrats, D.C.’s largest local LGBTQ political group, expressed regret that he did not clarify in an announcement earlier this week that the organization chose to postpone deciding whether to endorse D.C. Council member Brooke Pinto (D-Ward 2) in the city’s June 4 primary election because she is running unopposed in the primary.

“I misspoke, and I take responsibility for that,” Michael Haresign, the group’s president, told the Washington Blade on Thursday. Haresign said that he regrets that he did not inform the Blade in a May 21 interview at a post endorsement party the group held that Pinto’s name was not on the endorsement ballot the group sent to its members earlier this month to vote on the endorsements.

Based on a press release issued by the group on May 21, the Blade reported that Capital Stonewall Democrats announced it had endorsed just four candidates appearing on D.C.’s June 4 primary ballot – President Joe Biden, D.C. Council members Robert White (D-At-Large) and Janeese Lewis Geroge (D-Ward 4), and D.C.’s U.S. Shadow Representative Oye Owolewa (D).

Among the candidates not endorsed that surprised some in the LGBTQ community were Pinto and D.C. Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D),  who, like Pinto, is a strong LGBTQ community supporter. In the group’s May 21 press release it did not disclose that Pinto’s name was not on the group’s endorsement ballot.

Elizabeth Mitchell, Capital Stonewall’s Vice President for Legislative and Political Affairs, and Austin Naughton, a member of the group’s endorsement committee from Ward 2, contacted the Blade by email on May 23 to point out that the group decided at the committee’s recommendation to postpone a decision on whether to endorse Pinto, and the membership did not vote on a Pinto endorsement.

 “We made a careful and considerate decision as an election committee to not impose upon CM Pinto’s busy schedule at this time as there was no challenger for the primary,” Mitchell told the Blade in an email. “We assured CM Pinto and her campaign that we would revisit the subject of endorsement after the primary as it’s possible a challenger may emerge at that time,” said Mitchell, who added that the group was unaware of anyone emerging to challenge Pinto in the November election.

“As such, we did not include her on our endorsement ballot,” Mitchell said. Mitchell was also referring to the decision not to invite Pinto to one of the group’s candidate forums related to the June 4 primary, even though Pinto made it clear she would be happy to participate in a forum.  

No candidates have emerged in the June 4 primary to challenge Pinto either as Democrats or as members of the city’s two other registered political parties – the Republican and Statehood Green parties. An independent candidate could emerge to challenge Pinto in the November general election, and voters are eligible to vote for a write-in candidate in both the primary and general election.

Mitchell said Norton’s office did not respond to an invitation to participate in the Capital Stonewall Democrats first of two candidate forums and told the group a conflict in her schedule prevented Norton from attending the group’s second candidates forum.

“Her office sent us a very professional letter explaining that she had a prior engagement the evening of our forum and would be unable to attend,” Mitchell said. “We explained that to our members,” according to Mitchell, who added, “She was on our ballot and failed to receive enough votes to win an endorsement.”

 Under the group’s endorsement policy, candidates must receive at least 60 percent of the vote from the members to receive an endorsement. Under that policy, Haresign said the group also did not make an endorsement for the Ward 7 and Ward 8 D.C. Council races or in the race for the D.C. U.S. Shadow Senator seat because no candidate received a 60 percent vote threshold.

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