The Rev. Al Sharpton is on trial for the traffic-choking protests over the deadly police shooting of an unarmed New York City man.
A Manhattan criminal court judge began the non-jury trial Monday for Sharpton and seven others.
Led by Sharpton, hundreds of demonstrators blocked traffic at bridge and tunnel entrances on May 7.
They were outraged at the acquittals of three officers in the shooting of Sean Bell early on his wedding day in November 2006.
More than 200 demonstrators were arrested. Most cases have been dismissed.
Sharpton has said the protest was peaceful. He rejected an offer to plead guilty in exchange for time served — the 5 1/2 hours he was held after his arrest.