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A New York City judge has dropped charges against the majority of pro-Palestinian student protesters arrested in April during a demonstration at Columbia University.

Initially, 46 protesters were arrested during the April 30 incident at Hamilton Hall. Of these, 15 individuals still face charges, while the remaining 31 had their cases dismissed. The protesters had been charged with criminal trespass in the third degree after Columbia University called for police assistance to remove them from the premises.

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During the court hearing, Judge Kevin McGrath dismissed the trespass cases against those with no prior criminal history, citing prosecutorial discretion and lack of sufficient evidence. Assistant District Attorney Stephen Millan noted that the available video footage was too limited to identify all the participants accurately, as the security cameras had been covered, and many of the students wore face masks.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office offered an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal to 13 of the protesters, which would result in the charges being dropped after six months if they avoid further legal trouble. However, all 13 rejected the offer and are scheduled to return to court on July 25. The DA’s office intends to proceed with charges against one protester, James Carlson, who faces more severe accusations of criminal mischief and arson for setting an Israeli flag on fire and damaging a police surveillance camera.

Columbia University declined to comment on the court proceedings.


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