On Wednesday, the 25th of July, a pre-trial hearing was held on motions put forward by the defense. However, at 9:00 am, the starting time of the hearing, it was clear that something was not right. All of the defendant’s were present except for Anthony Hayne and his lawyer, Michael O'Shea. Around 9:10 all of the lawyers went out into the hallway for a meeting with O'Shea. Meanwhile, the other four defendants were taken out to the courtroom. Soon after, all of the lawyers again entered the room and Anthony Hayne was brought into the court room wearing street clothes instead of the usual prison orange. Emotions were running high as what many of the supporters and loved ones feared the most unfolded before our eyes. Around 9:30 AM Anthony Hayne formally entered into a cooperating plea agreement with the government on the basis that he was found guilty on all three charges. The judge seemed hesitant about Hayne's move, as it included a mandatory minimum sentence of roughly 16-20 years in prison (188-235 months served). The exact amount of time served would be dependent on the level of cooperation with the government. Formal sentencing will not occur until the trial is concluded.
As the Cleveland 5 support group, as friends and loved ones of all of them, we are shocked by his decision. Particularly by his decision to enter into a plea that would, by its nature, require the exchange of information that would implicate and/or potentially make worse the case of his other co-defendants. As this is and will remain a political case, we can no longer express support and advocacy on the behalf of Anthony. As was explained to and agreed upon by the co-defendants, our support only exists as long as they stay strictly non-cooperative with the government. Anthony is no longer at CCA and we do not have information about where he was transferred to, and where he will spend the time of his incarceration. We our deeply saddened by his decision and hope that, in the end, it does not hurt the other four, who continue to struggle for the justice they deserve.