Judge Denies Request for Jury Trial for Naked Protestor

John Brennan's impromptu TSA protest landed him in the media spotlight. Photo by Xilia Faye, PQ Monthly
By Erin Rook, PQ Monthly

John Brennan, the man arrested in April for disrobing at the Portland airport security checkpoint, has been denied a jury by trial, and will instead face a judge on July 18.

According to Naked American Hero, Judge David Reese denied on June 29 Brennan’s petition to have a jury decide whether he was guilty of indecent exposure — a charge downgraded from a misdemeanor to a violation. While some would be happy to not face the possibility of jail time or a criminal record, Brennan had hoped to stand his ground in front of a jury of his peers.

“I’m frustrated,” Brennan said Monday on his blog. “We could fight to get my misdemeanor back, but that doesn’t really serve anyone, especially not me. Yet, letting the Multnomah County DA take away my right to a jury trial feels like a violation. It feels like a compromise I’m being forced to make.”

He believes he did nothing wrong or illegal.

“After going through a metal detector, and full, invasive pat-down, my clothes tested positive for nitrates. That’s when I decided I could assist my screening process by removing my clothes and protest the ever-increasing invasiveness of the TSA search process that has been slowly eroding our privacy and right to travel,” Brennan told PQ in May. “I did not believe that they had any grounds to arrest me, since i was exercising my first amendment rights.  I chose to continue my protest despite TSA’s threats to have me arrested and my eventual arrest.”
A time for Brennan’s trial has not been named, but he says he expects it will be at either 9 a.m. or 1 p.m.