U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Editor says arrest is in retaliation for his reporting

Incident Details

REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

Supporters of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guido demonstrate outside the Venezuelan embassy occupied by Nicolas Maduro supporters in Washington, D.C. in May.

— REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
December 6, 2019 - Update

Charges against journalist Max Blumenthal dropped

All charges against Max Blumenthal, editor of The Grayzone, were dropped Dec. 6, 2019, the outlet reported.

The Grayzone reported that all Secret Service call logs related to the incident “were either not kept or destroyed.”

Blumenthal, who was arrested in October on assault charges, said on Twitter that he plans to “seek justice.”

October 25, 2019

The Grayzone editor Max Blumenthal was arrested on assault charges on Oct. 25, 2019, at his home in Washington, D.C.

Blumenthal told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that the charge is false and is in retaliation for his outlet’s reporting on the Venezuelean opposition.

An account of his arrest was published on The Grayzone, the site Blumenthal founded in 2015.

In April and May of this year, the embassy in D.C. was the site for weeks-long protests between backers of Venezuelean President Nicolás Maduro and supporters of Juan Guaidó, who has been recognized by the United States and other nations as the country’s interim president, according to the Washington Post. The Post reported that at least 10 other people were arrested in connection with the protests.

In public court records, prosecutors claim that the alleged assault occurred during a confrontation involving the delivery of food and water to the embassy on May 8.

The Tracker is so far unable to independently corroborate the editor’s assertion that this arrest was specifically in retaliation for his reporting, but we will continue to follow this case and report on it as it develops.

Blumenthal said the next status hearing is scheduled for Nov. 22.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected].