Thirteen people pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct violations in East Hampton Town Justice Court on Wednesday—charges that stemmed from protests over an Army Crops of Engineers beach stabilization project on the Montauk beachfront.
The 13 protesters, who were arrested in groups of two or three over two weeks last month, each were issued $250 fines by Town Justice Steven Tekulsky, the maximum for disorderly conduct violations.
Carl Irace, the attorney who represented 12 of the protesters in court on Wednesday, said that his clients’ actions were a matter of principle for which they willing acknowledged their guilt, but was nonetheless disappointed that the judge issued the maximum fine for the charges.
“My clients were all saddened by the government turning a deaf ear on them and the bad consequences of this ill-advised project,” said Mr. Irace, who is also representing the plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the legality of the beach project. “I respect their commitments to shedding light on the real consequences of this fiscally and environmentally devastating project.”
In all, 16 people were arrested during the protests, which delayed the start of work on the excavation on several mornings as protesters stood their ground inside the trench being dug along the beachfront until police removed them in handcuffs.
Earlier this week, a federal judge declined to issue an injunction against the project, which would have halted the work while the lawsuit by Defend H20 and members of the Surfrider Foundation is adjudicated.