Right at the culmination of the prosecution’s closing arguments, prosecutor Kim Lindquist offered the jury some thoughts about the First Amendment. “The First Amendment is an issue in this case only as it relates to the knowledge or intent of the defendant and his associates,” he said.
While acknowledging that the judge’s instructions to the jury note that speech is protected under the First Amendment unless it prompts imminent lawbreaking, Lindquist referred to a question he had asked repeatedly throughout his argument - whether inflammatory materials posted on web sites were just news or scholarly analysis, or whether they were something more sinister, such as support for terrorism and attempts to raise funds and recruits.
“The only way his speech could be protected in this context are if those materials had the purpose of scholarly analysis and just news,” Lindquist told the jury, prompting lead defense attorney David Nevin to rise to his feet.
“I’ll object,” Nevin interrupted. “That’s not the law.”
Judge Edward Lodge told the jury to go by the instructions, and make its own decisions.