Greenpeace protesters to take plea deal

Activists with Greenpeace who staged a protest at Procter and Gamble's headquarters in Cincinnati last March will accept a plea deal that reduces their felony charges to criminal trespassing, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. The reduced charge is a fourth degree misdemeanor and carries a maximum jail sentence of 30 days and maximum fine of $250.

All eight of the defendants had originally been charged with vandalism and burglary, both felonies. Seven of them are now scheduled to enter pleas on December 12 before Judge Robert C. Winkler in the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas. One of the defendants had already pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of breaking and entering, but had not yet been sentenced. He will also appear in court on December 12, and the court's docket indicates he may withdraw his plea at that time, presumably to accept the same plea deal as the other defendants. Initially there were nine defendants involved in this case, but one of the activists allegedly involved in the act died in October.

According to a report in USA Today from March 2014, the activists allegedly entered the P&G facility working in two teams. One team went into the north tower and the other to the east. They broke locks to open windows and ziplined down the buildings, unfurling large banners protesting P&G's environmental practices. They also ran a zipline between the buildings where one of the activists dangled, dressed in a tiger costume. They were arrested within two hours of the demonstration.

The activists were protesting P&G's practice of purchasing palm oil from certain suppliers that they alleged were destroying the rainforest and thus harming the animals who live there. The Enquirer reports that since the protest P&G has stated that it will strengthen its policies with respect to palm oil suppliers and the environment. P&G also urged prosecutors in the case to offer lesser charges to the defendants after discussions with Greenpeace.

For court docket information in this case, see this summary from the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts.