SANTA ANA — An Orange County Superior Court jury on Friday convicted 10 of the so-called Irvine 11 on two misdemeanor charges to conspire and then disrupt a February 2010 speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren at UC Irvine.
Charges against one defendant had been tentatively dismissed, pending completion of 40 hours of community service at the Someone Cares Soup Kitchen in Costa Mesa.
The remaining 10 were sentenced to three years of informal probation and 56 hours of community service.
The verdict in the closely watched free-speech case won praise from Jewish organizations, who felt that the defendants had impeded Oren's right to speak, and derision from Muslim organizations who argued that the district attorney was trying to chill their right to political free speech.
Some audience members wept as the verdict was read in Superior Court Judge Peter J. Wilson's courtroom. The students showed no visible emotion, although they hugged each other afterward. Some of the defendants' supporters stormed out.