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State shows willingness to settle case against pro-Palestine demonstrator arrested on UF campus

The state offered a deferred prosecution agreement to one of the protesters on Tuesday during a first appearance hearing at the Judge Stephan P. Mickle, Sr. Criminal Courthouse. (WUFT News file photo)

On Tuesday, the State Attorney's Office for the Eight Judicial Circuit showed some willingness to settle against one of the nine protesters arrested in April during a pro-Palestinian demonstration at the University of Florida.

The state offered a deferred prosecution agreement to one of the protesters on Tuesday, which would effectively settle the case and avoid going to trial if the defendant agreed to certain requirements. Those requirements were not made known during a court proceeding on Tuesday.

The defendant is 23-year-old Allison Marie Rooney, who goes by “Jinx.” Rooney pleaded not guilty to all charges earlier this month. They include failure to obey police or fire department, resisting without violence, and wearing a hood or mask on public property. Unlike the majority of the other protesters who are students at UF, Rooney said during a first appearance hearing Tuesday that they worked at Target.

A public defender for Rooney asked the judge for more time to prepare. Judge Kristine Van Vorst agreed, pushing the next hearing to Aug. 6.

Two other protesters are scheduled to be arraigned at the courthouse on Wednesday.

Áine Pennello is a multimedia reporter and Morning Edition news anchor for the College’s Innovation News Center. She has a background in video news and documentary and most recently worked at WCBS Newsradio in New York City covering local news and the tri-state area. She has also reported internationally, freelancing from Paris and Berlin during the Syrian refugee crisis. During the Syrian Civil War, Pennello reported from the Golan Heights while on a reporting grant from the International Center for Journalists.