On February 27, 2018, a Suppression Hearing was held in the decision making time period before Reality Winner’s actual trial in which she is being charged under the Espionage Act. This was an important hearing because Magistrate Brian Epps will decide whether or not Reality’s confession will be able to be submitted as evidence against her in court.
Magistrate Epps has since asked both the prosecution & defense to submit statements of their arguments and then he will make his decision. This, ultimately, will push back Reality’s trial that is scheduled for this month.
The reason this is so important is because of what happened the day Reality Winner was interrogated by two male FBI agents. This was set up as a sting operation from the beginning. The lead agent said he briefed his team about the case a half mile away from Reality’s apartment, in a school parking lot. Reality was not arrested by the FBI agents, she was arrested by the local police department.
Reality cooperated with the FBI agents, while they blocked the only exit in the tiny, unfinished bedroom in the back of her apartment during the questioning. While a group of nine armed, male FBI agents ransacked her apartment with their search warrant, she even asked if she could tend to her pets’ needs, instead of walking around freely in her own home. And when Reality asked the two agents interrogating her if she was being arrested, knowing there was also a search warrant for her person, but seeing no female agent during the entire exchange, her question went unanswered.
Instead, she was told that she would benefit from cooperating, which she thought she was doing. And, that they would feel much better knowing they didn’t have a serious issue if she was just frustrated with her job. The same tactics that you see on television when a suspect is being interviewed & arrested; the coerciveness, the pressuring, the “we know you did it so you better tell us now.”
There were seven cars outside of Reality’s small Augusta home, all blocking in her vehicle. She had handed over her keys and her cell phone, and even showed the armed agents how to gain access into her phone. None of this made Reality feel as though this was a voluntary interview. She felt that she was being arrested, which she ended up foreshadowing correctly.
This wasn’t Winner’s first pre-trial hearing either. She has been denied pretrial bond multiple times over the course of the last 8 months. And while Winner has gained a lot of support online, her mother & step father, Billie Winners-Davis & Gary Davis, have been the only supporters of Winner to show up at those hearings.
This time was different though. Because of all the support that Winner has gained online, her parents wouldn’t be the only ones in the courtroom this time. Supporters from Florida, Pennsylvania, and New York, came to show Winner and her parents that they are not alone.
My husband, Ryan, & I were two of those supporters. Back in January, there was a call to action online for Reality Winner supporters and I worked with other supporters to try to fill the courtroom. Donations came in to help get supporters to the hearing, and Ryan & I offered to carpool anyone needing a ride. We even picked up a fellow supporter in Philadelphia on our way down to Augusta, GA from upstate NY.
Ryan & I started our trip on Monday, February 26, 2018. We packed our bags & I made a hash tag: #NY2GA4Reality. I wrote the hash tag on my car windows and set the GPS for our 15 hour drive. I made my Twitter update so people could follow our drive down using the hash tag and we were off. We were going to be there for Reality and her parents. We wanted them to know there were people out there like us.