'Considerable Restitution' Eyed In Westborough Protest

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The eight protesters were arrested Monday at Westborough's TransCanada office and charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing. Photo Credit: Contributed

WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — Lawyers for eight protesters arrested Monday at Westborough's TransCanada office were hoping for a quick resolution, but Assistant District Attorney Julie Richard said that would not be possible. 

The eight college students who staged the sit-in were arraigned Wednesday morning in Westborough District Court. Richard said the state would seek "considerable restitution" for the costs of removing the protesters, but she did not say what the amount would be. 

"They're trying to hold us accountable for how they handled the situation and the costs they incurred," said Dorian Williams, a senior at Tufts University. 

The eight were arraigned individually and charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing. Judge Robert Calagione said the charges can not result in jail time. 

The group reached out to The National Lawyers Guild, which provided three pro bono attorneys, Benjamin Hiller, Neil Berman and Jeff Feuer. 

Feuer said the guild is dedicated to representing progressive groups in the advancement of human and civil rights. The attorneys have not been made aware of what the state might seek in restitution or how the case might be handled. 

"A lot of that will depend on us talking to [the district attorney]," he said. 

Alli Welton, a sophomore at Harvard University, said she first heard about the possibility of restitution in a news report Tuesday night. She said that while the group won't be able to plan how to handle the situation until all the details come out, the amount of community support they've received has been encouraging. 

She said the protesters received a standing ovation at a recent meeting of their "grassroots organization" to support the goals of 350.org, a group that seeks to reduce carbon emissions.  

"People have been incredibly supportive so far," she said. "It's great to know that people have got our backs." 

The eight defendants are: Shea M. Riester, 22, of  Brighton; Devyn Weis Powell, 20, of Lake Oswego, Ore.; Benjamin L. Thompson, 22, of Durham, N.H.;

Benjamin J. Trolio, 22, of Burnt Hills, N.Y.; Lisa Rose Purdy, 20, of Waltham; Allison J. Welton, 20, of  Tonasket, Wash.; Dorian S. Williams, 20, of Chicago, and Emily Edgerly, 20, of Lexington.

They are due back in court March 4. 

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