A federal grand jury in the District of Columbia today returned a two-count superseding indictment charging a 10th defendant, Herb Geraghty, 25, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with conspiracy against rights and FACE Act offenses in connection with an alleged reproductive health care clinic blockade in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 22, 2020.
The original indictment returned by a federal grand jury on March 24, alleges that the nine defendants – Lauren Handy, Jonathan Darnel, Jay Smith, Paulette Harlow, Jean Marshall, John Hinshaw, Heather Idoni, William Goodman and Joan Bell – engaged in a conspiracy to create a blockade at the reproductive health care clinic to prevent the clinic from providing, and patients from receiving, reproductive health services. Several of the defendants traveled from other states to participate in the blockade, including Idoni, of Michigan; Smith and Hinshaw, of New York; and Harlow and Marshall, of Massachusetts.
According to the superseding indictment, as part of the conspiracy, Geraghty communicated with Handy to plan the blockade. Handy made lodging arrangements for her co-conspirators from Michigan, New York and Boston, and she obtained a monetary donation to pay for an Airbnb reservation for herself and Geraghty. According to the indictment, Geraghty and several co-defendants traveled from out-of-state to Washington, D.C. to participate in the clinic blockade.
The superseding indictment further alleges that Handy, Smith, Harlow, Marshall, Hinshaw, Idoni, Goodman, Bell and Geraghty forcefully entered the clinic and set about blockading two clinic doors using their bodies, furniture, chains and ropes. Once the blockade was established, Darnel live-streamed footage of his co-defendants’ activities. The indictment also alleges that all 10 defendants violated the FACE Act by using a physical obstruction to injure, intimidate and interfere with the clinic’s employees and a patient, because they were providing or obtaining reproductive health services.
If convicted of the offenses, the defendants each face up to a maximum of 11 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $260,000.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia made the announcement.
The case was investigated by the FBI Washington, D.C., Field Office. The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Sanjay Patel of the Civil Rights Division and the Fraud, Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.
An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law.