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John Matthew Monti, an anti-illegal immigration activist I wrote about in this story earlier this year, went on trial yesterday in San Diego.

Here’s what I wrote about Monti, who works as a teacher in Los Angeles, back in March:

Monti claimed he was attacked by a group of eight migrant workers who took offense to him photographing them. He said the men tried to steal his camera and that one attacked him from behind. The City Attorney’s Office disagrees. They say it was Monti who attacked the group of migrants and then made up a false police statement afterwards.

Monti said the city attorney’s case is evidence of a conspiracy by the Police Department to target Minutemen. As proof, he noted that the District Attorney’s Office passed on the case. Lea Fields, the deputy city attorney who filed the suit, said the evidence supported the misdemeanor charges — which are handled by the city attorney. Felonies are prosecuted by the district attorney.

Monti said the people who know him will come to his defense. He said that as a bilingual teacher of immigrant children, most of whom are Latino, he rejects any claims that he’s a racist or that he is guilty of a hate crime.

“They’ve turned this around on me,” he said. “Everybody knows me, I’ve tutored their kids. My class is a newcomers’ class and I work with those kids to see them transition to another level.”

According to court documents, Monti has been charged with eight counts varying from battery to filing a false crime report.

WILL CARLESS

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