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Portland man who stripped naked at airport is acquitted of indecent exposure charge

Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2012, 2:34 PM    
Updated: Wednesday, July 18, 2012, 6:42 PM

By Aimee Green, The Oregonian

Associated Press  John Brennan testifies Wednesday about going through security at Portland International Airport.  

A Multnomah County judge has acquitted a Northeast Portland man of an indecent exposure charge for stripping naked at Portland International Airport security.

Judge David Rees said 50-year-old John E. Brennan was indeed stripping in protest of what Brennan saw as invasive Transportation Security Administration screening procedures.

"It is the speech itself that the state is seeking to punish, and that it cannot do," Rees said.

The Multnomah County District Attorney's Office had argued during the brief trial Wednesday that Brennan violated a Portland city ordinance by exposing his genitalia to the opposite sex in a public place.

But the judge agreed with Brennan and his attorney, Michael E. Rose, who argued Brennan was exercising his freedom of speech and protest.

After the judge announced his ruling, more than a dozen of Brennan's friends, who were present in the courtroom, erupted in applause and cheers. Moments later, they hugged Brennan.

Judge acquits John Brennan on indecent exposure charge  

To protest TSA practices last April, John Brennan of Portland stripped down naked at a Portland International Airport checkpoint and was arrested. Judge David Rees found him not guilty.  

One friend stuck a sticky note on Brennan's chest. It read: "Sir Godiva" -- a reference to the legend of a noblewoman who rode naked on a horse through the streets of England to protest oppressive taxation.

© 2012 OregonLive.com. All rights reserved.





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