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September 29, 2017

Duo who assaulted pro-Trump marcher gets probation

Victim says he wasn't permitted to speak during Friday's proceedings

07032017_HowardCaplan_attack Howard Caplan/via Twitter

Howard Caplan, best known as the 'Hillary for Prison' and 'Pizzagate is real' sign man on Roosevelt Boulevard, was assaulted after pro- and anti-Trump rallies in Center City on Sunday, July 1, 2017. “Next thing I know, I’m on the ground," he said of the attack. "Felt like they hit me in the head with a bottle."

In early July, Howard Caplan traveled from Northeast Philadelphia to Center City to march in support of President Donald Trump.

He would head home with six staples in his head, a “pretty messed-up left eye," a scratched cornea and scrapes on his leg from an altercation in Logan Square with counter-protesters.

Fast forward to Friday, and Caplan – better known as the “Hillary For Prison” and “Pizzagate is Real” sign guy from Roosevelt Boulevard who burst into the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul and delivered a screed against the Catholic Church last December – would return to Center City.

This time, it was to sit in a courtroom where he saw his two assailants plead no contest to simple assault and conspiracy charges in connection with the case.

Jeremy Smith, 21, of Ardmore, and James McFadden, 37, of Southwest Philadelphia were sentenced to a maximum of 24 months probation by Municipal Court Judge Jacquelyn Frazier Lyde on Friday morning.

Aggravated assault charges were dismissed at a July 18 preliminary hearing for lack of evidence, according to court records.

Brian Hickey/PhillyVoice

Though he identified himself as a lifelong Democrat, the Wikileaks issue inspired 47-year-old Howard Caplan of Northeast Philadelphia to make a daily trip to Grant Avenue and Roosevelt Boulevard to express his displeasure with Hillary Clinton's candidacy. Now he's feasting on another alt-right obsession: Pizzagate.

Afterward, Caplan said he was fine with the sentences for the men, who he claimed were part of the Antifa group protesting the pro-Trump march, since it was the maximum penalty possible.

“I wasn’t involved in the trial at all. I was here for nothing,” said Caplan. “I stood up asking to speak, but the judge said she didn’t want political statements in the courtroom. It was a s***show.”