( Cincinnati ) - Hamilton County Judge Robert Winkler has denied a defense request that the burglary charge against the Greenpeace protesters be dropped. 

The attorney for the 9 suspects in March's demonstration at the P&G towers argued that his clients were exercising free speech rights. Prosecutors say the 9 broke the law when they snuck past security, rappelled out of windows on the 12th floor, and hung a pair of 50-foot banners outside.

The felony burglary charge carries a maximum sentence of 8 years. The suspects are also charged with vandalism.

Another hearing is scheduled for later this month.