Lawyer: Chicago audience provoked man who disrupted 'Hamilton'

FOX 32 NEWS — The lawyer for a man charged with disrupting a Chicago performance of the musical "Hamilton" blamed the incident on a "hostile" and "partisan" audience.

Attorney Jonathan Feldman says 56-year-old John Palmer was not intoxicated Saturday night as witnesses described him. Witnesses also said Palmer yelled obscenities at the people around him and at the actors on stage after they sang the line, "Immigrants / We get the job done."

Feldman claims Palmer was, in fact, the victim of verbal abuse and political bias.

Auto sales software C.E.O. John Palmer was charged with criminal trespass last Saturday night after he refused an order to leave the Loop’s PrivateBank Theatre.  Chicago Police said theater officials signed a criminal complaint. 

Cell phone video shows Palmer being restrained by theater security officers. He’s shouting a non-stop stream of profanity.

But Feldman said others in the theater audience started the confrontation. He claimed they shouted profanity-laced denunciations of President-dlect Donald Trump at key points in “Hamilton.”

The sold-out musical celebrates Founding Father Alexander Hamilton and his status as an immigrant from the Caribbean.

Claire Helsel is among those on social media claiming to have seen the incident. She posted: "Drunk @realDonaldTrump supporter tried to ruin #HamiltonCHI for audience tonight! Only ruined it for his own family. Sad!"

His lawyer insisted Palmer was not drunk. A Chicago Police spokesman said officers had no legal reason to test Palmer for intoxication and did not.

Feldman said the Palmer was offended that others in the audience were cursing America’s new, soon-to-be Commander in Chief.

“It was a very hostile environment towards Mr. Palmer just because he supports our President-elect,” Feldman declared. “Profanity, threats, a lot of the other problems supporters of our President-Elect face… This audience had a very widespread had a very widespread, almost pitchfork-type attitude toward anyone who supported our President-Elect.”

Witnesses said the Trump-related uproar exploded during a song in the musical play that declares immigrants get things done.

The incident in Chicago followed the incident in New York in which the show's cast member Brandon Victor Dixon read a statement to Vice President-elect Mike Pence at curtain call.

Chicago Police said Trump supporter Palmer’s next appearance in Cook County Court is scheduled for January 9th, at Belmont and Western.

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