AUGUSTA — For the second time in three months, four people are on trial in connection with criminal trespassing during an Occupy Augusta protest last November at the Blaine House.

The jury trial of four defendants — nine were arrested originally — started Wednesday in Kennebec County Superior Court and is expected to conclude today. The defendants — Elizabeth A. Burke, 49, of Union, Kimberly G. Cormier, 47, of Benton, and Patricia L. Messier, 63, and Jenny Gray, 54, both of Wiscasset — all testified in their own defense.

In the same court in April, a mistrial was declared after a different jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict.

Burke did not take the stand during that trial. However, she did so Wednesday.

One of the two defense attorneys, Lynne Williams, said Burke testified that she had was charged with criminal trespass in 2002 in Knox County in a protest about a state Department of Transportation plan to cut trees to widen U.S. Route 1.

“I believe I had a right to be there, and I believed I had a right to be at the Blaine House,” Burke said, according to Williams. Philip Worden is the other defense attorney.

The protest erupted after people involved in the Occupy Augusta movement, who had been camping at Capitol Park since mid-October, were told they would have to leave at night and get a permit to continue using the park by day starting Nov. 28, 2011.

The defendants were among a group who marched across State Street to the Blaine House — the governor’s mansion — to object to that decision.

Police and Capitol Security officers arrived and told the protesters to leave.

Worden said previously that the defendants were exercising their rights to free speech and to redress grievances and believed they had a right to be there.

The prosecutor in all the cases has been Assistant District Attorney James Mitchell Jr.

Closing arguments by attorneys, instructions by Justice Michaela Murphy and deliberations are set for this morning.

Four other defendants either were found guilty by a jury or a judge and fined $100 to $400 each.

Charges remain pending against a ninth man arrested at the same time, James Freeman, 62, of Verona Island.

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