Constitutional Law

'Nude but not lewd' airport protester beat indecency rap but is still fighting $1K TSA fine


A tech worker who took it all off at the Portland, Ore., airport last year as a protest of security measures, was acquitted at trial later in 2012 by a Multnomah County judge of the indecent exposure charge that resulted.

But the celebration after John E. Brennan’s criminal court victory last year was a bit premature.

Approximately one month later, the Transportation Security Administration slapped him with a $1,000 fine, contending that he had broken a rule that says passengers cannot “interfere with, assault, threaten, or intimidate” TSA screeners, the Oregonian reports.

At 9 a.m. Tuesday, the 50-year-old is scheduled to appear in court before a federal administrative law judge as he appeals the sanction. He will be represented by Portland attorney Robert Callahan.

The lawyer, who is handling the case pro bono, contends that the TSA fined his client after Brennan won his criminal case “because they didn’t like to lose.”

And it appears likely, at least in the short term, that the TSA may continue to prevail. Callahan said the administrative law judge is not allowed to consider the free-speech defense that led to Brennan’s victory in last year’s criminal trial.

But he can assert a constitutional rights defense in subsequent appeals to federal district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals.

See also

ABAJournal.com: “‘Nude But Not Lewd’ Passenger Takes It All Off for Airport Security, Faces Indecent Exposure Charge”

ABAJournal.com: “Judge Acquits Man Who Stripped Naked in Airport Protest”

Updated on May 15 to change wording in one sentence.

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