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Jurors affirm riot charges for two defendants in 2021 PB violence

'This case is about Antifascism. Even though it’s not really about Antifascism.'

“Jeremy showed up as a medic, to give first aid,” his attorney claimed.
“Jeremy showed up as a medic, to give first aid,” his attorney claimed.

Two men – Jeremy Jonathan White, 41, and Brian Cortez Lightfoot, Jr., 27 – who drove from Los Angeles to attack a pro-Trump rally in Pacific Beach in 2021 were found guilty of felony conspiracy to riot with Antifa co-conspirators, a jury announced on Friday, May 3.

White claimed that he went to Pacific Beach January 9, 2021 to act as a medic during a planned First Amendment march. 

Hamasaki, left, had to overcome Instagram messages that Brian Lightfoot sent: “I wanna fight LOL” and “I’ve got my bear mace.”

Since April 2, the jury heard evidence for four weeks, and then they deliberated more than ten days.

Both White and Lightfoot escaped all the felony assault charges on which they were indicted. White was found not-guilty of one assault, and the jury deadlocked on five alleged assaults on which Lightfoot was indicted.

Besides the one conspiracy to riot charge, Lightfoot was found guilty of five felony unlawful uses of tear gas. 

White, who called himself “theantifasoldier” and “ACABman” on Instagram, posted a reply to someone who asked why Antifa wanted to gather early, an hour before the Patriots advertised the start; theantifasoldier answered: “I think we’re just trying to get there super early to hold space and not let them gather easily.”

The defense attorney for White assured the jury, “That’s not a crime.” San Francisco's Curtis Briggs, brother of San Diego lawyer Cory Briggs, gave his closing arguments on April 23.

Briggs was successful in his argument, “Jeremy didn’t punch, kick or fight anybody that day.”  

Jeremy White did admit that he bear-sprayed several people (and a dog) on the beach boardwalk, but White insisted he only used his spray in self-defense.

“Jeremy showed up as a medic, to give first aid,” his attorney claimed.

Both defense attorneys insisted their clients, the defendants, were there to “oppose groups like the Proud Boys.” According to the lawyers, these extremists created fear in the antifascists.

When White testified, from the witness box, he said that support for President Trump was “textbook fascism.”

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Briggs claimed that White was an advocate for justice reform. Briggs proposed that the justice system in San Diego, including prosecutors and police investigators, saw White as their enemy. 

“You heard from at least ten district attorney’s investigators,” Briggs reminded jurors of all those witnesses. Briggs said those investigators were specialists, pulled from gang task forces and terrorist task forces, to work especially on this case, “Even though there was never any evidence of Antifa being a terrorist organization or a gang!” 

Briggs suggested that White saw one cop on a motorcycle just ride away, “He (the cop) was probably trying to protect himself…” Briggs seemed to suggest that White must have reasoned that the cops were afraid of the violent right-wing extremists too. Thus justifying fear in the Antifa marchers, who then attacked and bear-sprayed the Patriots.

Briggs and John Hamasaki, defense attorney for Brian Cortez, each made a one-hour closing argument after the jury heard all the evidence, on April 23. Lightfoot was indicted on 16 felony charges.

Hamasaki told jurors, “I want to jump right into, and talk about, evidence about Antifascism. Because you know, whether we like it or not, this case is about Antifascism. Even though it’s not really about Antifascism.”

Both defense attorneys unsuccessfully tried to defeat the accusation that both Brian Lightfoot and Jeremy White were part of an Antifa conspiracy to riot. This is the one felony of which both defendants were found guilty.

“Even considering Mr. Lightfoot did get into some skirmishes out there, on his own, that doesn’t count as a riot. That’s just fighting,” Hamasaki told jurors. This attorney was persuasive enough that jurors deadlocked, could not come to unanimous decision, on almost every assault charge against Lightfoot. 

Hamasaki had to overcome some Instagram messages that Brian Lightfoot sent to his Antifa comrades before the riot, including “I wanna fight LOL” and “I’ve got my bear mace.”

Video of Lightfoot bear-spraying a woman and her three male companions during the riot has been widely distributed and was seen for years on the internet. 

After the riot, one of the first persons arrested was Jonah Abraham Bigel, who was 24 then. Bigel is seen with a baseball bat in riot video; he smashed a storefront window along the beach boardwalk, plus he hit one beachgoer with his baseball bat. And two months before the riot in PB, on November 3, 2020, Bigel allegedly set fire to police property, using “homemade firebombs.” Bigel was granted a suspended three-year prison sentence and was released on probation.

In a separate indictment, 11 defendants were accused of riot, nine of those made plea deals before trial. Two who admitted conspiracy to riot plus felony assaults, were already sent to California state prison; they are Erich L. Yach, 40, and Jesse Merel Cannon, 33; each got about five years state prison. Yach is eligible for parole in October 2024, and Cannon is eligible for parole in December 2024, according to the California prisons’ website.

Seven other indicted persons who already made plea deals and currently remain at liberty while they await sentencing, are: Alexander Akridgejacobs, 33, Joseph Austin Gaskins, 23, Christian Martinez, 25, Luis Francisco Mora, 32, Samuel Howard Ogden, 26, Bryan Rivera, 22, and Faraz Martin Talab, 29. Their sentencing is currently set for June 28, 2024. 


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“Jeremy showed up as a medic, to give first aid,” his attorney claimed.
“Jeremy showed up as a medic, to give first aid,” his attorney claimed.

Two men – Jeremy Jonathan White, 41, and Brian Cortez Lightfoot, Jr., 27 – who drove from Los Angeles to attack a pro-Trump rally in Pacific Beach in 2021 were found guilty of felony conspiracy to riot with Antifa co-conspirators, a jury announced on Friday, May 3.

White claimed that he went to Pacific Beach January 9, 2021 to act as a medic during a planned First Amendment march. 

Hamasaki, left, had to overcome Instagram messages that Brian Lightfoot sent: “I wanna fight LOL” and “I’ve got my bear mace.”

Since April 2, the jury heard evidence for four weeks, and then they deliberated more than ten days.

Both White and Lightfoot escaped all the felony assault charges on which they were indicted. White was found not-guilty of one assault, and the jury deadlocked on five alleged assaults on which Lightfoot was indicted.

Besides the one conspiracy to riot charge, Lightfoot was found guilty of five felony unlawful uses of tear gas. 

White, who called himself “theantifasoldier” and “ACABman” on Instagram, posted a reply to someone who asked why Antifa wanted to gather early, an hour before the Patriots advertised the start; theantifasoldier answered: “I think we’re just trying to get there super early to hold space and not let them gather easily.”

The defense attorney for White assured the jury, “That’s not a crime.” San Francisco's Curtis Briggs, brother of San Diego lawyer Cory Briggs, gave his closing arguments on April 23.

Briggs was successful in his argument, “Jeremy didn’t punch, kick or fight anybody that day.”  

Jeremy White did admit that he bear-sprayed several people (and a dog) on the beach boardwalk, but White insisted he only used his spray in self-defense.

“Jeremy showed up as a medic, to give first aid,” his attorney claimed.

Both defense attorneys insisted their clients, the defendants, were there to “oppose groups like the Proud Boys.” According to the lawyers, these extremists created fear in the antifascists.

When White testified, from the witness box, he said that support for President Trump was “textbook fascism.”

Sponsored
Sponsored

Briggs claimed that White was an advocate for justice reform. Briggs proposed that the justice system in San Diego, including prosecutors and police investigators, saw White as their enemy. 

“You heard from at least ten district attorney’s investigators,” Briggs reminded jurors of all those witnesses. Briggs said those investigators were specialists, pulled from gang task forces and terrorist task forces, to work especially on this case, “Even though there was never any evidence of Antifa being a terrorist organization or a gang!” 

Briggs suggested that White saw one cop on a motorcycle just ride away, “He (the cop) was probably trying to protect himself…” Briggs seemed to suggest that White must have reasoned that the cops were afraid of the violent right-wing extremists too. Thus justifying fear in the Antifa marchers, who then attacked and bear-sprayed the Patriots.

Briggs and John Hamasaki, defense attorney for Brian Cortez, each made a one-hour closing argument after the jury heard all the evidence, on April 23. Lightfoot was indicted on 16 felony charges.

Hamasaki told jurors, “I want to jump right into, and talk about, evidence about Antifascism. Because you know, whether we like it or not, this case is about Antifascism. Even though it’s not really about Antifascism.”

Both defense attorneys unsuccessfully tried to defeat the accusation that both Brian Lightfoot and Jeremy White were part of an Antifa conspiracy to riot. This is the one felony of which both defendants were found guilty.

“Even considering Mr. Lightfoot did get into some skirmishes out there, on his own, that doesn’t count as a riot. That’s just fighting,” Hamasaki told jurors. This attorney was persuasive enough that jurors deadlocked, could not come to unanimous decision, on almost every assault charge against Lightfoot. 

Hamasaki had to overcome some Instagram messages that Brian Lightfoot sent to his Antifa comrades before the riot, including “I wanna fight LOL” and “I’ve got my bear mace.”

Video of Lightfoot bear-spraying a woman and her three male companions during the riot has been widely distributed and was seen for years on the internet. 

After the riot, one of the first persons arrested was Jonah Abraham Bigel, who was 24 then. Bigel is seen with a baseball bat in riot video; he smashed a storefront window along the beach boardwalk, plus he hit one beachgoer with his baseball bat. And two months before the riot in PB, on November 3, 2020, Bigel allegedly set fire to police property, using “homemade firebombs.” Bigel was granted a suspended three-year prison sentence and was released on probation.

In a separate indictment, 11 defendants were accused of riot, nine of those made plea deals before trial. Two who admitted conspiracy to riot plus felony assaults, were already sent to California state prison; they are Erich L. Yach, 40, and Jesse Merel Cannon, 33; each got about five years state prison. Yach is eligible for parole in October 2024, and Cannon is eligible for parole in December 2024, according to the California prisons’ website.

Seven other indicted persons who already made plea deals and currently remain at liberty while they await sentencing, are: Alexander Akridgejacobs, 33, Joseph Austin Gaskins, 23, Christian Martinez, 25, Luis Francisco Mora, 32, Samuel Howard Ogden, 26, Bryan Rivera, 22, and Faraz Martin Talab, 29. Their sentencing is currently set for June 28, 2024. 


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