ADVERTISEMENT

Man who sold Trump wares on public grounds gets jury trial

July 31, 2021 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Supreme Court has ruled that a Wisconsin Trump supporter found guilty of an infraction for using public grounds in Bismarck for commercial purposes without a permit is entitled to a jury trial.

It’s a case Eric Smith, 40, of Superior, Wisconsin, says is more about free speech rights than about where he was selling political merchandise. But the city prosecutor says the ruling only means she’ll now present her case to a jury.

The Bismarck Tribune reports Smith in August 2020 operated a stand selling Donald Trump wares. A nearby business manager and Smith both called police, with Smith saying the manager removed political flags from where his stand was placed.

ADVERTISEMENT

Smith was summoned to appear in municipal court to face an infraction, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine.

Municipal courts don’t hold jury trials. A defendant to get one must request the case be transferred into district court, which Smith did at his arraignment. Municipal Judge William Severin denied the request, saying Smith had no right to a jury trial for an infraction.

State Supreme Court justices disagreed. A trial date has not been set.