The trial of ten Muslim University of California Irvine students who disrupted a 2010 campus speech by an Israeli diplomat last year was rescheduled today at the request of the prosecution.
The students who stood up and shouted during the speech were arrested and charged with two misdemeanor counts for conspiracy and disruption of the meeting.
Jury selection is scheduled to begin in a couple weeks. Gary Williams is a Civil Rights expert at Loyola Law School. He says the first challenge is finding an impartial jury.
"I think that’s going to be their big concern," he said. "Can we find jurors who won’t be prejudiced against these students because of their religion or their race, actually, to put it bluntly, because that’s going to be a secondary concern for sure."
Williams says the case will likely come down to a clash of claims: The students say they were exercising their right to free speech. The prosecution says that the students’ actions prevented the speaker from voicing his opinions.
Since the protest, a few of the students have finished their master’s degrees. Some are now in medical school. If convicted, their sentences could include probation with community service, jail time or fines. The trial begins on August 29th.
Video of the 2010 disruption courtesy of the Orange County Registrar: