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Jury selection starts for Patriot Prayer founder riot trial

July 12, 2022 GMT

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Far-right Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson’s trial starts this week on one count of felony riot in connection with a brawl outside a Portland, Oregon, bar in 2019.

Jury selection began Monday and is scheduled to continue through Thursday, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

Prosecutors allege Gibson instigated a street fight between Patriot Prayer and antifascists on May 1, 2019, at the now-closed bar Cider Riot. In an arrest warrant affidavit, Deputy District Attorney Brad Kalbaugh says video of the brawl shows Gibson and his two co-defendants, “taunting and physically threatening members of the Antifa group in an effort clearly designed to provoke a physical altercation.”

Three other brawl participants with the Patriot Prayer group, Chris Ponte, Ian Kramer and Matthew Cooper were indicted and pleaded guilty.

Kramer, who knocked a woman unconscious and fractured her vertebrae with a baton, pleaded guilty to riot, assault and unlawful use of a weapon. He was sentenced to 20 months in prison and five years of probation.

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Ponte, who prosecutors said threw a rock and hurt a woman, pleaded guilty to a riot charge in a plea deal. He was sentenced to three years probation and 10 days in jail. Cooper pleaded guilty to riot and was sentenced to three years probation.

Gibson founded the Vancouver, Washington, based Patriot Prayer in 2016, and has held pro-Trump and other rallies repeatedly in Portland and other West Coast cities.

Cider Riot has since closed, but former owner Abram Goldman-Armstrong filed a civil lawsuit against Gibson and other Patriot Prayer members alleging Gibson used his platform to make the bar a target for far-right violence. That lawsuit is still open in the Oregon court of appeals.