US Federal Case 3:22-cr-00327
On March 5th, 2021, a few Christians performed a Rescue at an abortion mill in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. Some were arrested that day on charges of trespassing. Those charges were handled by the local court, and they went back to their daily lives. 18-months later, the FBI raided the homes of Tennessee residents Paul Vaughn and Chet Gallagher to let them know that they were facing federal charges under the FACE Act. The other defendants were either served papers or informed via a polite phone call.
The trial was scheduled to begin in Nashville on January 16th, 2024. However, due to winter storm Heather, the trial was delayed and began on January 23rd.
Jury selection begins.
Jury selection concludes, opening statements by prosecution and defense.
First Witness - Police Sgt. that was present on 3/5/21.
Second Witness - A former carafem employee that was present on 3/5/21.
Third Witness - Former co-defendant that was also present on 3/5/21 and has agreed to testify for the prosecution.
Third Witness - Conclusion of cross examination of former co-defendant.
Fourth Witness - A patient that showed up to the clinic on 3/5/21.
Fifth Witness - An FBI analyst presented a timeline of communications and browser search history of some of the defendants.
Sixth Witness - Then boyfriend, now husband of the patient that took the stand earlier.
At this point, the defense called their one witness, the lead police negotiator that was present on 3/5/21.
After the jury was dismissed for the day, the judge began the jury instructions conference. This ran late, but by the end of the night it seemed that all parties (the defense, the prosecution, and the judge) were happy with the state of the jury instructions.
The morning began in a thick fog of confusion with more deliberations over jury instructions. Though that was wrapped up on Friday evening in court, the Prosecution had objections after the court was recessed. That sparked a “flurry of emails” over the weekend and created a good bit of frustration over which was the correct version of the jury instructions. The fog lifted just before lunch recess, resulting in closing statements that started much later than everyone anticipated.
Both sides argued their case, and the evidence (all that the judge allowed in the pre-trial proceedings) was ready to go back to jury deliberation with the jurors the following morning. They were given instructions as to what the law is and what reasonable doubt is, and were then dismissed for the evening.
The jury was called in at 9:00 in the morning in order to be sent to deliberations. They sent one question back to the court on what clients and patients to be considered in deliberations, as the indictment indicated only 1 patient and 1 clinic employee on Count 2.
Around 1:00 PM on 1/30/2024, the jury found all 6 defendants that were being tried in the case of USA v. Gallagher guilty on all counts. The judge set sentencing for July 2nd, 2024, and each of the defendants face a maximum of 11 years in federal prison and fines of up to $260,000.