JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – One of the people who prompted an order from a Duval County judge last week that protesters interrupting court business were no longer allowed to demonstrate on courthouse grounds was found guilty Wednesday of trespassing in a different case.
A jury found Michale Hoffman guilty of trespassing on Jacksonville International Airport property last August. Hoffman claimed he was within his First Amendment rights to be on the property.
Hoffman and his attorney claim that he was on his way to the airport administration building to obtain public records when he was stopped by airport police in the grass along Yankee Clipper Drive.
Hoffman said that he parked off airport property and elected to walk based on an incident the previous week. He said that when he was stopped, he had multiple "activist" signs with him.
He recorded the entire incident (see below) where officers told him multiple times that he was trespassing and that he needed to leave.
On Wednesday, Hoffman told jurors that, despite being given the opportunity by officers, he didn't tell them where he was going at the time. He said that it is his policy not to answer questions from law enforcement.
Another point of contention is whether the airport property was private or public.
Officers on the video at the time of arrest said it was private property, but Wednesday they acknowledged that it was public. Prosecutors claim that despite that fact, Hoffman was still trespassing.
Hoffman will be sentenced at 2 p.m. Thursday.
Arrest of Michale Hoffman