A 75-year-old military veteran was sued by a Veteran Affairs facility for illegally hanging American flags on their property. The judge acquitted him at the trial, one year later.
Robert Rosebrock's relationship with the VA has been pretty tense, to say the least. Rosebrock, the 75-year-old veteran, has been protesting the VA alongside fellow veterans for nine years. They believe that the VA has failed to make use of their property to properly benefit veterans -- specifically those that are homeless, NBC reported.
On Memorial Day 2016, Rosebrock and the other anti-VA veterans assembled where they have every Sunday since 2008: at the "Great Lawn Gate" entrance to the Veteran's Park in West Los Angeles.
They decorated their protest as the always do: with a couple of napkin-sized American flags attached to the fence.
Only this time, two VA police officers approached them, removed the flags, and explained that hanging these flags was a federal offense.
Fox News reported that, according to a 1973 VA regulation, individuals are prohibited from posting materials on VA property without proper authorization.
It reportedly took 66 consecutive Sundays of hanging those flags until the police did anything.
And on April 18, Rosebrock went to federal court to appear for the misdemeanor.
Originally, he was being charged on three counts: one for posting material without authorization, and the other two for taking unauthorized photos of the VA police officer who took the flags down.
The judge that handled the case, U.S. Magistrate Judge Steve Kim, dropped that latter two charges prior to trial -- arguing that it didn't follow the First Amendment.
The trial found Rosebrock not guilty for the charge that could have resulted in a maximum six-month prison sentence.
Kim explained that there was no evidence that proved that the defendant lacked permission, nor was it proven that it was Rosebrock who put up the flags in the first place.
The courtroom was reportedly filled with dozens of observers, with two of them in particular standing out. Ted Hayes, a homeless activist, dressed as Uncle Sam sat in his red, white and blue suit and tall hat. Fellow veteran Gene Simes, national chairman of a New York-based veterans advocacy group, stood at attention in uniform with a folded flag under his arm throughout the entire proceeding.
Upon Kim's ruling, the room is said to have erupted in applause.
Standard Newswire reported in a press release that Judicial Watch attorney Sterling E. Norris, a former Los Angeles County deputy district attorney, and Robert Patrick Sticht, a Los Angeles-based defense attorney, represented Rosebrock in the case.
Upon exiting the courtroom, Rosebrock said he was "honored that the flag was exonerated -- and for once the veterans got a victory."