CINCINNATI - Eight of the nine Greenpeace protesters arrested at Procter & Gamble headquarters last March are going to face the possibility of prison if convicted at trial rather than accept a plea deal.
One unidentified protester did accept a plea deal Monday, the prosecutor said.
All nine, charged with burglary and vandalism, will appear before Hamilton County Judge Robert C. Winkler on July 31. The judge will set the plea date for one and trial dates for the others.
Prosecutor Mark Piepmeier wanted the protesters to perform 80 hours of community service locally and to pay restitution for damage to P&G headquarters in exchange for a guilty plea. All of the activists live out of state.
The eight going to trial could each face up to eight years in prison if convicted of burglary.
The protester who accepted the plea deal wasn't identified publicly.
Defense attorney Bill Gallagher said the protesters don't believe they should be charged with felony burglary.
The nine were arrested in March after slipping past P&G's security and using a zip line to unfurl huge banners from the company's towers while a helicopter filmed their protest. They were protesting P&G's use of a palm oil supplier that Greenpeace links to tropical forest destruction.
Winkler this month rejected a request to dismiss the burglary counts. Their attorneys said they were engaging in constitutionally protected political speech, but prosecutors argued that regardless of their political message, the activists committed crimes and caused damage.
Authorities have said property damage, including broken window locks, totaled about $17,000.
Palm oil is commonly used in shampoo, cosmetics and other products. P&G announced April 8 that it has adopted a "no-deforestation" policy for its palm oil supply and that would ensure traceability of supplies by 2015. Greenpeace called P&G's announcement a huge step in protecting rainforests, while saying much work needs to be done.