Trial Begins For Protesters Arrested Near Lowell Wind Project

08/15/12 12:04PM By Charlotte Albright
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VPR/Charlotte Albright
Six charged with trespassing at Green Mountain Power's Lowell wind project stand outside the courtroom in Newport with their lawyer. They are, left to right, Ryan Gillard, attorney Kristina Michelsen, Robert Holland, Suzanna Jones, David Rodgers, Eric Wal
Six anti-wind protesters went on trial in Newport on Wednesday. The so-called "Lowell six" are charged with criminal trespassing last December on land leased to Green Mountain Power for the construction of wind turbines on Lowell Mountain.

At issue is who owns the land where the protesters were arrested.

Defense attorney Kristina Michelsen told the jury that her clients were protesting on land that they believed was owned by Don and Shirley Nelson, who gave permission.

State's Attorney Sarah Baker says they "chose" to be arrested despite no-trespass signs and warnings by police.

A GMP official testified in support of that argument but he also admitted he was not on site the day of the arrests.

Judge Martin Maley said he hopes to end the trial in one day because Thursday is a state holiday -Bennington Battle Day.

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