AUGUSTA — A judge on Tuesday morning issued arrest warrants for five former Occupy movement protesters, including a Benton selectwoman, after they failed to appear in court.

But at 5:30 p.m., after two of the defendants and two of their attorneys arrived at court, the judge recalled the warrants.

The five are charged with misdemeanor counts of criminal trespass for allegedly refusing to leave the grounds of the Blaine House, the governor’s residence, on Sunday, Nov. 27. Gov. Paul LePage was not there at the time.

They were scheduled to appear for a docket call hearing at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday in Kennebec County Superior Court. None of them had come to court by 9:15 a.m., so Justice Nancy Mills issued the warrants requested by the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney James Mitchell Jr.

Mills set bail at $500 cash with the conditions the five remain off Blaine House grounds.

Those with warrants were Kimberley Cormier, 47, a Benton selectwoman; Diane H. Messer, 59, of Liberty; Patricia L. Messier, 63, of Wiscasset; Elizabeth A. Burke, 48; and David J. Page, 44. A sixth defendant, Jenny Gray, 54, of Wiscasset, was also on the list and did not appear, but the court was attempting to contact her attorney, Lynne Williams.

Nine protesters were arrested on the grounds of the Blaine House. The other three defendants have hearings scheduled later.

Mitchell said the state asked that the hearings be postponed, but told the defendants they had to be in court Tuesday unless a judge acted on the request.

Several defendants also requested in letters to the court that their hearing be postponed, and said they had lawyers, but none except Gray’s attorney had notified the court.

Cormier, just after noon Tuesday, said that she and other defendants were contacted by the district attorney’s office Monday and told the office was filing to postpone the hearing, and they should call the court Monday afternoon to see if they needed to show up Tuesday.

Cormier said when she called the court she was told she didn’t need to make an appearance.

“They said I didn’t need to show up,” Cormier said Tuesday after she learned about the arrest warrants. “A number of us talked to them, and they said the same thing. It’s ridiculous to think nine people wouldn’t show up. We had all made plans to be there today, but we were told we didn’t need to. That’s why none of us, or our lawyers, were there.”

Cormier, Messer and Gray were in court by Tuesday afternoon.

At 5:30 p.m., attorney Philip Worden told the judge that Messer knew about the hearing and made plans to attend until the district attorney’s office told the defendants they were seeking to postpone the matter.

Cormier told the judge she called the clerk’s office and was told the defendants were excused.

Worden said he accepted responsibility for their failing to appear.

“I would be astonished if anyone in the clerk’s office — there are only six — would have told defendants not to appear if (the postponements) had not been granted by a judge,” Mills said.

Mills noted the defendants were sent notices about the court date on Feb. 3 and told Worden to be prepared to pick a jury in Messer’s case on Thursday morning.

Mills postponed the other defendants’ hearings to April 3. Hearings for the remaining protesters charged are set for other dates.

Mitchell and Assistant District Attorney Paul Rucha told the judge they were not seeking to try all the defendants together. However, Worden said he would ask the court to put all the cases together.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

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