ST. PAUL, Minn. — Walking into the courtroom on Tuesday, Linwood “Woody” Kaine looked calm and collected with his co-defendants and attorney.
Kaine, who made national headlines when he was arrested with seven other co-defendants in connection with riots at the Minnesota State Capitol in March, is the son of former vice presidential candidate and sitting U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) – the running mate of Hillary Clinton.
Members of the group Antifa, of which Kaine is a member, flooded the Capitol building on March 4 to disrupt local Trump supporters who were gathering in conjunction with the national March 4 Trump movement. Many Antifa members attempted to conceal their identity by covering their faces with bandanas and goggles.
John Michael Barham, Kaine’s attorney, announced plans to file a motion with the court contesting the constitutionality of banning people from wearing masks in public. Kaine was also charged with obstructing the legal process, a gross misdemeanor and fleeing on foot, a misdemeanor.
According to Minnesota State Statute 609.735, “A person whose identity is concealed by the person in a public place by means of a robe, mask, or other disguise, unless based on religious beliefs, or incidental to amusement, entertainment, protection from weather, or medical treatment, is guilty of a misdemeanor.”
For decades, protesters have tried to overturn laws in various states that would criminalize concealing their faces during protests.
In October 2000, the ACLU of Northern Michigan filed a motion to dismiss charges against protesters who covered their face during a protest. The New York Times reports in 1979, a group of Iranian protesters won a suit dismissing state statutes banning protesters from shielding their face in public.
However, other states, like Washington State are looking to institute criminal penalties against protesters who cover their faces to commit crimes according to the Seattle Times.
Both Kaine and Hayley Marina Ryan, who are both represented by Barham, opted for pre-trial, which is scheduled for October 16 at 9:00 a.m. However, Barham announced that he would try to reschedule the pre-trial to coincide with the other co-defendants who will be in court on October 11 – which includes Glenn Fredrick Kimball.
Francis Sagermerek, who appeared in court on August 21, will be sentenced on October 5.
Prosecutors have yet to file charges against protesters who disrupted and injured Trump supporters at subsequent rallies at the State Capitol.