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Four Pro-Lifers Face Prison Time After Being Convicted In Federal Court

four-pro-lifers-face-prison-time-after-being-convicted-in-federal-court
Four Pro-Lifers Face Prison Time After Being Convicted In Federal Court

NASHVILLE — Four pro-life Christians were convicted on Tuesday of FACE Act violations after they were charged by the Biden administration over a peaceful protest at a Tennessee abortion facility.

The four found guilty are Eva Edl, Eva Zastrow, James Zastrow, and Paul Place. They face a year in prison and thousands of dollars in fines upon sentencing. They are currently sent to be sentenced on July 30.

The decision came after a one day bench trial meaning that the defendants fate was in the hands of Middle District of Tennessee Magistrate Judge Chip Frensly. Frensly agreed with the Justice Departments allegations that the pro-lifers had violated the law and found them guilty. The judge deliberated for less than half an hour.

DOJ prosecuting attorney Amanda Klopf said that the case was about the rule of law and that the four had engaged in criminal activity and not a protest.

Lawyers for the defendants said that their clients were just practicing their faith in a peaceful manner. Place’s lawyers said that the trial demonstrated massive overreach by the federal government, saying that the Biden administration was prosecuting “people who were simply expressing their beliefs in a non-violent way.” Edl’s lawyer said that the group was there to “pray and sing and worship” and persuade women to not go forward with abortions.

Charges were brought against the four after they participated in a peaceful pro-life protest at the Carafem abortion facility in Mt Juliet, Tennessee. On that day, The charges stem from a protest that took place in a hallway outside of a Mount Juliet abortion provider on March 5, 2021. On that day, a group of demonstrators gathered on the second floor of an office building in the hallway outside the Carafem Health Center Clinic. The group prayed, sang hymns, and urged women showing up to the clinic to not get abortions. The trial took place at the Fred Thompson federal courthouse in Nashville.

The courtroom gallery was packed with dozens of supporters of those on trial. A group of supporters and family members gathered Tuesday morning before the trial to pray and sing hymns  like “Holy, Holy, Holy,” and “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”

Edl, who group up in Eastern Europe and survived a Communist concentration camp, spoke briefly before the trial began saying that, “Whatever happens, we are in the Lord’s hands.”

In January, six others at the protest were convicted of conspiracy against civil rights and FACE Act violations. They face over 10 years in prison and hundreds of thousands in fines.

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