Leah-Lynn Plante
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  • Leah-Lynn Plante

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At roughly 12:45 this afternoon, Leah-Lynn Plante—a small, nervous-seeming woman in a red cardigan—stood on the front lawn of the federal courthouse and read a statement to a group of 75 or so activists who showed up to support her decision to not participate in today's grand jury proceedings.

She said, in part (speaking on behalf of herself and Dennison Williams, another Portland resident who was issued a subpoena):

We will not answer any questions other than our names. If we are asked additional questions, we will invoke our First, Fourth,and Fifth Amendment rights. Under no circumstances will we talk about other people.

This grand jury is a tool of political repression. It is attempting to turn individuals against each other by coercing those subpoenaed to testify against their communities. The secret nature of grand jury proceedings creates mistrust and can undermine solidarity. And imprisoning us takes us from our loved ones and our responsibilities. But our passion for freedom is stronger than the state’s prisons.

She was prepared to go into the grand jury room without her lawyer, not answer questions, and go to jail for contempt of court.

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Then she walked up the courthouse steps, past a line of police officers, hugged a few of her friends, and walked (slightly teary-eyed) into the courthouse.

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The crowd stood around, waiting and talking. Some said she could be in and out in 20 minutes or that she might be bound for jail. Forty-five minutes later, she popped back out and the crowd began cheering. She said she went in, gave her name, said she wouldn't answer any other questions, and was told to come back on August 30. "Now," she said, "I just want to get the fuck out of here."

As far as I could tell, nobody else who was issued a subpoena showed up.