It’s going to be a big day on FDL.  Pam’s House Blend officially joins us starting today — give a big welcome to Pam and her co-bloggers Autumn Sandeen, Alvin McEwen, Scott Wooledge and Laurel Rameseyer.  They are some of the most talented and insightful bloggers around, and we are thrilled to have them here.

I’ll also be in court today with Lt. Dan Choi, who is being put on trial by the Justice Department for protesting against DADT in front of the White House last November.  At a pre-trial hearing earlier this year, Judge Facciola tried to get the Assistant US Attorney — Angela George — to reduce the charges, but after conferring with the Justice Department she refused to do so.

You can read the exchange between George and Judge Facciola here:  Court Transcript.

The Judge thought that the charges the government is bringing against Dan were excessive relative to what actually happened, and suggested that there were First Amendment issues involved.  For more on that hearing, read the excellent account of PHB blogger Scott Wooledge, who wrote about what happened.  Both Scott and Autumn were arrested with Dan at the time.  Dan refused to take the deal offered by the government, however, because it involved an admission of guilt.

The 38 minute tape above was taken by the Park Police at the time of the arrest, and was turned over to Dan’s attorneys by the Justice Department.  His lawyers will be calling the Park Police officers who roughed Dan up when they were arresting him, and arguing that they have rather arbitrary standards for enforcing traffic regulations (witness them closing the park when they wanted to keep journalists away from Dan and others protesting at the White House April of this year, vs. standing there while drunken revelers tried to climb the flag pole after Osama bin Laden was killed).

Bill McKibben, who was arrested along with Dan and me on August 20, will be at the White House for Day 10 of the 14 day Tar Sands sit-in and then coming over to court to support Dan.  I can’t have electronic devices in the court room but I’ll be posting updates on Twitter and here at FDL as I can throughout the day.

Jane’s tweets from the courthouse: