Gay West Point grad Dan Choi avoids prison, fined $100 for White House protest

WASHINGTON — A gay West Point graduate discharged from the military for revealing his sexual orientation has been fined $100 in case resulting from his arrest during a 2010 White House demonstration.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office says Dan Choi was convicted and fined Thursday by a judge hearing his case.

Choi faced a possible sentence of six months in jail or a $5,000 fine for disobeying a lawful order to disperse from the fence.

In this Nov. 15, 2010 file photo, Lt. Dan Choi, center, falls as he is arrested for handcuffing himself to the fence outside the White House in Washington, during a protest for gay-rights.
Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP
In this Nov. 15, 2010, file photo Lt. Dan Choi, center, and others handcuff themselves to the White House fence in Washington to protest that President Obama keep his promise to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for gays in the military.
Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP

Choi was one of 13 people arrested after they handcuffed themselves to the White House fence on Nov. 15, 2010, to protest the now repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy banning gays in the U.S. military. His trial began in 2011 but was put on hold during an appeal.

But in court on Thursday, Choi’s erratic demeanor swung from emotional outbursts at the lectern to belligerent confrontations with a U.S. Park Police officer and the federal prosecutor. Dressed in a military uniform, Choi paced the courtroom, serving as his own lawyer, according to The Washington Post.

Choi, who is not trained as an attorney, alternated between whispered apologies for his teary breakdowns and loud rebukes of Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela George for failing to refer to him as a lieutenant.

“Please remember where you are,” Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola cautioned after Choi used vulgar slang. “That may be appropriate in the barracks. It’s not appropriate here.”

At one point during Thursday’s trial, Choi was led from the courtroom after lying on the floor and sobbing uncontrollably.

The other demonstrators had previously pleaded guilty to the charge of criminal misdemeanor, but had their sentences deferred.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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