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The four remaining members of the so-called RNC 8 pleaded guilty this morning to gross misdemeanor charges that will not result in any jail time. Defendants Rob Czernick and Max Spektor pleaded to one count each of conspiracy to commit riot, while Garrett Fitzgerald and Nathanael Secor pleaded to one count each of conspiracy to destroy property.

RNC 8 case ends with plea bargains

Garrett Fitzgerald, Max Specktor, Nathanael Secor and Rob "Tumbleweed" Czernik

The four remaining members of the so-called RNC 8 pleaded guilty this morning to gross misdemeanor charges that will not result in any jail time. Defendants Rob Czernick and Max Specktor pleaded to one count each of conspiracy to commit riot, while Garrett Fitzgerald and Nathanael Secor pleaded to one count each of conspiracy to destroy property.

The agreements stipulate that the defendants will perform 100 hours of community service, pay a fine of $200 and be on probation for one to two years. More serious felony conspiracy charges were dropped.

The plea deals end a two-year saga that began with law enforcement officers making a series of raids on the homes of anti-war activists in the days leading up to the Republican National Convention. The eight defendants were initially accused of conspiring to criminally disrupt the GOP gathering through acts of terrorism, but the most serious criminal counts were dropped in April 2009. The controversial prosecutions became a political albatross for Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner, as she was constantly grilled about the cases while trying to generate support for her ill-fated gubernatorial campaign.

Last month one of the RNC 8 defendants, Eric Oseland, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to commit criminal damage to property. He was sentenced to 91 days in jail and given a $100 fine. All charges against three other defendants — Monica Bicking, Luce Guillen-Givins and Eryn Trimmer — were dropped completely. The four remaining defendants were slated to proceed to trial on October 25.

“This plea must be embarrassing for Susan Gaertner and Bob Fletcher,” said Jaime Hokanson, a member of the RNC 8 Defense Committee, in a statement. “Their case was so weak from the beginning that through political pressure, they have been forced from pursuing felony terrorism charges into settling on a plea with no jail time.”

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