No Jury Trial and No Regrets for Naked Portland TSA Protester John Brennan

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The case of John Brennan, the man who stripped naked to protest an invasive search at Portland airport TSA checkpoint earlier this year, is working its way through the courts. The latest development: a judge denied Brennan's request for a jury trial.

In case you missed news of Brennan's nude civil disobedience this past April, the 50-year-old decided to disrobe when he got hassled by Transportation Security Administration employees as he went to board a flight from PDX to San Jose. Brennan was frisked, then had his hands swabbed with a piece of fabric. This test -- known as Explosives Trace Detection -- came back with a false positive that Brennan was carrying a bomb. That's when the Web developer became irate, and stripped down to his birthday suit to prove he wasn't packing any explosives.

Brennan was arrested for disorderly conduct, and later charged by Multnomah County Prosecutors with indecent exposure. The charge was recently downgraded from a misdemeanor to a violation, the legal equivalent of a speeding ticket. While the lesser charge means Brennan won't face jail time and can keep a clean criminal record, it also does not allow for a trial by jury. His options are either plead guilty -- not an option for the defiant Brennan -- or proceed to a bench trial, where the judge decides whether the state can prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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John Brennan in the buff at PDX.
Brennan's pro bono attorney petitioned the judge to grant a jury trial, but was denied last Friday. His bench trial is now scheduled for July 18. He also faces possible civil action for interfering with the TSA screening process.

Despite his legal troubles, Brennan says if he could to do it all over again, he would still give the TSA the fully monty. "I haven't had any regrets," he says. "Bit by bit our government is taking away our rights. This is what we need to be focusing on -- to take our rights back when we can. These searches are unconstitutional."

Brennan says he now feels like "a folk hero," because people have recognized him on the street and applauded his actions. He has started writing a blog called "Naked American Hero," and sells t-shirts with the same phrase and a caricature of his naked, bearded form. He has also raised more than $2,000 to help cover his court costs.

"People really like what I did," Brennan says. "I still have people coming up to me in public and saying 'Hey, you're that guy that took your clothes off at the airport, I thought about doing that once too.' I don't plan to let [the case] drop."

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