After 11 court continuations stretching over two years, the trial of Joseph Alcoff, an alleged Washington D.C. Antifa leader and self-declared communist, is finally slated to begin on Aug. 17 for his alleged role in a 2018 attack on two Marine reservists in Philadelphia.
The trial will put the loosely-knit organization and its tactics back in the public eye, after Antifa’s notoriety spread in the wake of events like the 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally and coordinated attacks on cities from Kenosha to Portland in the unrest that followed the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2020.
According to court documents, Alcoff’s trial was originally slated for Nov. 2019, roughly one year after the original attack. Since then, the case has undergone numerous delays, and has bounced between four different judges in that time.
The case was originally assigned to Judge Scott DiClaudio, but was then moved elsewhere. DiClaudio has had an ongoing feud with Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, with Krasner at one point demanding DiClaudio recuse himself from all criminal trials. The DA argued that Judge DiClaudio could not be impartial in criminal cases because his life partner was a former prosecutor.
Two other men charged, Thomas Massey and Thomas Keenan, are both from Philadelphia, according to court documents. Alcoff is from Brooklyn.
The marines, Alejandro Godinez and Luis Torres, were at a Marine ball not far from a conservative “We the People” rally just blocks away in November of 2018. At the rally, some counter protesters attacked the conservatives, and were arrested by police.
Alcoff has been charged with aggravated assault, ethnic intimidation, conspiracy, terroristic threats, receiving stolen property, and other felonies stemming from the incident. He is currently out on bail which was set at $15,000. It is unclear how Alcoff paid his bail, and whether outside organizations helped him raise the funds.
Alcoff also has a documented history of aggressive behavior. In 2005, he was videotaped harassing a reporter before yelling “I’m a communist motherf*****” and spitting on him.
According to an investigation conducted by the Daily Caller Foundation, Alcofff has used various pseudonyms to conceal his identity online. On his Twitter account, which is protected but named “Viva Fidel” for the time being, his bio states: “sabotage capitalism.” Alcoff has previously called for political violence, claiming that people should “stop limiting themselves” to non-violent action.
Alcoff has been pictured with Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA), and worked at Americans for Real Bank Reform, a progressive nonprofit that has since removed references to him from their website.
Alcoff is also supposedly a friend of Mark Way, author of the infamous “Antifa Handbook”.
Joe Silverstein is the summer Editorial Intern at Broad + Liberty. He is a rising senior at Cornell University, where he studies Government and International Relations. Silverstein serves as the current Editor in Chief of the Cornell Review.