SANTA ANA — An Orange County Superior Court jury will decide the fate of 10 college students accused of illegally disrupting Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren's speech last year at UC Irvine.
After two full days of closing statements from six defense attorneys and one prosecutor, the so-called Irvine 11 case was given to the jurors. Deliberations on two misdemeanor counts of conspiring to and then disrupting the address are set to begin Wednesday morning and last one to two days.
Closing statements ended Tuesday afternoon, after defense attorneys and the prosecution both invoked free speech rights in their arguments. The Orange County district attorney's office contends that the protesters prevented Oren from speaking freely when they cut off his address. The defense argued that prosecution after the fact was meant to chill criticism of Israel by Muslim Americans.