Stephen Nessen, Reporter, WNYC News
Stephen Nessen reports for the WNYC Newsroom and can often be heard live on Morning Edition.
The last legal proceeding involving an Occupy Wall Street member has concluded, with a sentence of three months in jail for Cecily McMillan. She was found guilty of felony assault for elbowing a police officer in the eye. Her conviction spurred a popular outcry for leniency from many quarters, including members of the Russian protest group Pussy Riot, and at least one of the jurors who found her guilty.
A ring of police officers lined the Manhattan courtroom Monday, reminiscent of the Zuccotti Park protests. There were 2,600 Occupy protesters arrested, according to the Manhattan District Attorney's office.
During sentencing, the prosecutors accused McMillan of using the trial for political grandstanding and lying about injuries to her breast. "Through her lies she has undermined the claims of genuine sexual assault victims who seek justice in this system," Assistant District Attorney Shanda Strain said.
McMillan's lawyer, civil rights attorney Martin Stolar, asked for leniency, citing support from jurors, online petitioners and the film director Spike Jonze.
McMillian, 25, spoke directly to Justice Ronald A. Zweibel, and again, denied intentionally elbowing a police officer in the face. "I cannot confess to a crime I did not commit; I cannot do away with my dignity in hopes that you will return me my freedom," she said. Adding that she's truly sorry for the "unintentional harm I caused," and "I ask you to not perpetuate one injury with yet another."
Zweibel said he thought McMillan was capable of making positive contributions to society, but that she must take responsibility for her conduct.
He sentenced her to three months in jail, 500 hours of community service, five years probation and a $5,000 fine.
Stolar has already filed an appeal.