Animal rights activist facing felonies in Jeff Bezos protest

US & World

This Thursday, June 6, 2019, mug photo released by the Clark County Detention Center photo shows Priya Sawhney, 30, of Berkley, Calif., following her arrest Thursday, June 6, in Las Vegas on a misdemeanor trespassing charge. Authorities say she was arrested after approaching Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos on stage at a conference at the Aria resort and yelling about chicken farms. The group Direct Action Everywhere publicized Sawhney’s protest. Las Vegas police say Sawhney may face additional charges. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department via AP)

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — A California animal rights activist can be freed from jail without bail pending her next court date on felony charges for approaching Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos on a conference stage, a judge said Friday.

Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Harmony Letizia ordered Priya Sawhney, 30, to stay away from the Las Vegas Strip following her arrest Thursday at Amazon’s re:Mars event in the Aria resort.

Sawhney told the judge she intended to go home to California. Her next court date is July 15 on false identification and burglary charges.

In Nevada, burglary relates to entering a building with intent to commit a felony.

Direct Action Everywhere spokesman Matt Johnson said Sawhney is an associate of the group from Berkeley who also faces felony charges in California for actions involving poultry farms.

The group claims responsibility for public protests including one last week in which a man grabbed a microphone from Democratic California Sen. Kamala Harris at a presidential candidate forum in San Francisco.

The man involved in that event at a MoveOn forum also took part with about a dozen other group members in rushing the stage at a San Francisco presidential event involving Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in 2016.

Johnson says he expects Sawhney will have a private attorney at her next court appearance. She was temporarily represented Friday by an appointed public defender.

Sawhney never got close to Bezos. He remained seated opposite a moderator while Sawhney was surrounded by security guards and ushered off stage.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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