The Washington Post received advance notice about a protest in which environmental activists vandalized a sculpture in Washington, D.C., the Justice Department (DOJ) said Friday.
Joanna Smith and Timothy Martin were charged with conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States and with injury to a National Gallery of Art exhibit stemming from a protest where they smeared paint on a case holding “Little Dancer, Age Fourteen” by Edgar Degas on April 27, and each faces up to five years in prison for each charge, the DOJ announced. The Washington Post, though not named in the indictment, received advanced warning of the attack, which reporters then captured on video, the DOJ said.
“Members of the conspiracy had alerted the Washington Post, and two reporters from the Post recorded and photographed the offense,” the Justice Department said in the Friday release announcing the charges against Martin and Smith. “Additionally, other members of the conspiracy filmed and photographed the offense.”
US Attorney in D.C. filed felony conspiracy charges against 2 delusional climate protesters involved in damaging the “Little Dancer” at National Gallery if Art.
The pair were arrested, jailed, and face a minimum of 5 years in prison.
They should plead guilty. If you do the… pic.twitter.com/NbhyQtcID8
— Ryan Maue (@RyanMaue) May 27, 2023
Martin and Smith were members of the group Declare Emergency, which has carried out disruptive protests at the 2022 congressional baseball game and by blocking traffic on roads in the Washington, D.C. area while demanding President Joe Biden end fossil fuel development and declare a climate emergency, The Washington Post reported.
Declare Emergency is part of the A22 Network, a coalition of activist groups primarily bankrolled by the Climate Emergency Fund, which boasts numerous celebrity donors including Aileen Getty of the Getty oil family and comedian Chelsea Handler.
The sculpture was removed from the display for ten days and repairs cost $2,400, the Justice Department said in the release. The sculpture includes human hair, silk and ribbons that are over 100 years old, WTOP.com reported.
The Washington Post declined to comment.
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