DOJ Weaponizes FACE Act Six Pro-Life Activists Found Guilty Face 11 Years in Prison for Peaceful Protest

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Six pro-life activists were found guilty on Tuesday for “conspiracy against rights” and violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) in relation to a peaceful protest outside of a Tennessee abortion facility in 2021.

President Joe Biden’s pro-abortion administration announced in October 2022 that it had charged 11 activists involved in the March 5, 2021, “blockade” of the Carafem Health Center Clinic in Mount Juliet. Attorneys for the activists said they were conducting a “rescue” and had gathered on the second floor of the office building where the clinic is located to pray, sing hymns, and urge women not to go through with abortions. The peaceful protest was also live-streamed on Facebook, according to the Catholic News Agency (CNA).

Six of the activists have now been found guilty of a misdemeanor FACE Act charge, as well as a felony conspiracy against rights charge, which carries with it the possibility of up to 11 years in prison and fines up to $250,000. They include: Chester Gallagher, 73, of Lebanon, Tennessee; Heather Idoni, 58, of Michigan; Calvin Zastrow, 57, of Michigan; Coleman Boyd, 51, of Bolton, Mississippi; Dennis Green, 56, of Cumberland, Virginia; and Paul Vaughn, 55, of Centerville, Tennessee.

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Four other activists who have not gone to trial yet were only charged with a FACE Act violation and face up to one year in prison and fines up to $10,000. They include: Eva Edl, 87, of Aiken South Carolina; Eva Zastro, 24, of Dover, Arkansas; James Zastro, 25, of Eldon, Missouri; and Paul Place, 24, of Centerville, Tennessee.

Another activist, 24-year-old Caroline Davis of Michigan, already took a plea deal in 2023 and agreed to testify for the government.

The six activists are expected to be sentenced in July, the Daily Wire reported. The guilty verdict was delivered on the sixth day of the trial at the Fred D. Thompson courthouse in Nashville, according to attorneys for Paul Vaughn. The case was overseen by Judge Aleta Trauger, an appointee of former president Bill Clinton.

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Thomas More Society attorneys for Vaughn, a Christian father of 11 children, said in a press release that they will appeal his guilty verdict to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

“We are, of course, disappointed with the outcome,” stated Steve Crampton, Thomas More Society Senior Counsel and attorney for Paul Vaughn. “This was a peaceful demonstration by entirely peaceable citizens—filled with prayer, hymn-singing, and worship—oriented toward persuading expecting mothers not to abort their babies. Unfortunately, the Biden Department of Justice decided to characterize Paul Vaughn’s peaceful actions as a felony ‘conspiracy against rights,’ to intimidate and punish Paul and other pro-life people and people of faith.”

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