The two boaters pleaded not guilty in Court on Wednesday morning.
David A. Fink and his fiancé Simon V. Kinsella, both of whom live in Wainscott and were released on their own recognizance after the July 8 incident, were arraigned on three charges each; resisting arrest and obstruction of governmental administration in the second-degree, both misdemeanors, and disorderly conduct, a violation.
The charges levied were more than they had been expecting. Fink, a real estate attorney, asked Justice Catherine A. Cahill why their appearance tickets only listed the obstruction charge.
"The appearance ticket is merely a mechanism to get you to court," Cahill said. Holding the criminal court information Sgt. Jeffrey J. Erickson and East Hampton Town Harbormaster Dale Petruska filed, she said, "This is a result of the investigation."
She entered a not guilty plea on thier behalf.
Village police publically said last month that the men, who were sailing in the waters off Perelman's 57-acre village estate "The Creeks" on July 8, failed to comply with police orders. They said one was arrested on the sailboat, while the second jumped off into Georgica Pond and swam to Perelman's property, where he was arrested.
East Hampton Village Police Capt. Michael Tracey said that a police line was drawn across Georgica Pond, but after being warned not to pass, the men attempted to sail across the line. In the process, they hit a police boat, he said.
Fink and Kinsella told East Hampton Patch on Wednesday that they plan to hire a first-amendment attorney and fight the charges, even if it means going to trial.
Outside of court on Wednesday, Fink and Kinsella reviewed the charges that had been presented to them. "The irony is the charges are more indicting of them than they are us," Kinsella said.
They took particular exception with one statement under the disorderly conduct charges that read, "The defendant also was shouting and yelling anti-Mitt Romney political statements."
"That's true," Fink said.
The men said they were flying a Rainbow flag and had a sign that stated: "Freedom to Marry for All Americans." They said they were also there to protest Romney's position on healthcare law — though they thought their small protest would garner little attention other than the amusement of the guests sipping "their $50,000 champagne" at the fundraiser.
"I thought we had this kind of freedom in America," Kinsella said. "Not in East Hampton," Fink said.
The couple have to begin with and they said the Secret Service, which protects Romney, contacted them after their arrest to tell them they were not involved in bringing forth the charges.
Kinsella said the arresting officers also had no understanding of maritime law. The charges stated that police boat blocked the path of the defendants' boat before being struck. "Their ignorance is unbelievable," Kinsella said, adding that the officers didn't even know how to lower the sail on Kinsella's vessel.