Government drops prosecution of 129 inauguration defendants

WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. government is abandoning its prosecution of more than 120 defendants charged with crimes over their involvement in violent protests on the day of Donald Trump's inauguration one year ago.

A statement Thursday evening from the U.S. attorney's office said the government will continue to pursue felony charges against 59 defendants, while moving to dismiss the cases against the remaining 129 defendants.

The announcement marks a major change in strategy for the government, which had originally planned a series of trials that were to extend through most of 2018.

The government's original plan suffered a setback in December when a Washington jury acquitted the first batch of six defendants on all charges.

The next trial is scheduled to begin on March 5.
 

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