Prosecutors have offered seven of the Greenpeace activists arrested for hanging banners from Procter & Gamble headquarters last spring a plea deal that would cut charges against the group from felony vandalism and burglary, which carry a penalty of more than nine years in jail, to misdemeanor counts of criminal trespassing, which is punishable by no more than 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.
Nine activists gained access to P&G headquarters in March, hanging protest banners decrying the company’s role in deforestation related to their use of palm oil. Some protesters repelled down the side of the building.
Prosecutors say the group did $17,000 worth of damage to locks on the windows in the building, though lawyers for the group deny this. They say the activists were simply exercising their First Amendment rights and didn’t damage anything.
One activist, Tyler Wilkerson, died in California in October and another, Charles Long, took an earlier plea deal in September.
Jesse Coleman, Michael Herbert, Marcella Largess, Sean O’Brien, Denise Rodriguez, Tyler Sanville and Nimah Shahidi refused the earlier deal. They’re out on bond but will be at a Dec. 12 hearing, where they’re expected to plead guilty to the lesser misdemeanor charges.
The seven had signaled they would not take a deal unless it reduced their felony charges to misdemeanors. Officials with P&G reportedly told prosecutors they would like to see a deal for misdemeanor charges offered.
Neither P&G nor Greenpeace is commenting on the case. If the activists don’t accept the plea deal, they’ll be in court Jan. 20 on the charges.