Judge Bruce Guyton issued a ruling on April 29, 2011 gagging thirteen defendants who will appear in federal court in Knoxville, Tennessee on Monday, May 9 to face charges of trespass at the Y12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee during a Celebration of Resistance on July 5, 2010.
The Judge’s ruling sweeps away the defendants’ right to tell the jury why they committed their act: “The fact that the Defendants felt compelled to enter onto the Y-12 National Security Complex by their own moral, political, and religious beliefs; their desire to exercise their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech or religion; their desire to comply with international law; or their desire to prevent future death and destruction from the use of nuclear weapons does not constitute a legal defense to the charge in the Information and is not relevant at trial. Testimony to this effect is not admissible at trial.”
The judge’s ruling came in response to a hearing held March 4, 2011 on motions presented by the defense and the prosecution. At the March 4 hearing, Professor Charles Moxley of Fordham University testified that nuclear weapons not only violate international law, but also contravene US law and the military code of conduct of US armed forces. Defendants Mary Dennis Lentsch and Beth Rosdatter also testified on March 4 about their reasons for trespassing at the Y12 complex, where the United States continued to manufacture thermonuclear components for nuclear weapons.
The judge’s ruling can be found here: