[Ppnews] Midwest “Green Scare” arrestee Marie Mason accepts a plea bargain

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Sep 10 17:53:49 EDT 2008


  From: freemarie at riseup.net


  The following was written by a friend and supporter of Marie's with the
  Fifth Estate Collective. Marie is scheduled for a change of plea hearing
  tomorrow. We will post Marie's unredacted plea as soon as it is accepted
  by the court.

  Struggle,
  Got Your Back Collective
  www.freemarie.org


  On Monday, September 8, 2008 Midwest "Green Scare" arrestee Marie Mason
  accepted a plea bargain offered by federal authorities.

  The "Green Scare" is the name given to the recent arrests of animal rights
  and ecological activists who have been charged with acts of economic
  sabotage, in which federal authorities have sought outrageous sentences
  (often Life in prison) and have publicly and legally labeled the activists
  as "terrorists", despite the fact that no one has been hurt in any of the
  actions.

  Mason was arrested in March 2008 and charged with four felony offenses,
  which were related to two 1999 actions of eco-sabotage in which no one was
  hurt. Mason's arrest was based on information provided by Frank Ambrose,
  Mason's former husband, who unbeknownst to her had been cooperating with
  authorities for a number of years, and who entered his own plea bargain in
  March of 2008.

  Mason has been an activist in the environmental and labor movement for 25
  years, and has resisted cooperating with authorities in a number grand
  juries. Since her arrest, Mason and her lawyer have been pushing for a
  non-cooperating agreement of the kind that other "Green Scare" arrestees
  have been able to get from west coast prosecutors.

  However, federal prosecutors in Michigan have refused to offer her a
  similar deal. The only plea-bargain offered was for 15-20 years but which
  required her to implicate other activists by name. Additionally it was
  stipulated that if Mason did not accept this offer by Friday, September 5,
  prosecutors were going to ask for Life at the trial, and also indict her
  on new charges relating to two other eco-sabotage actions. Mason refused
  this offer since it required her providing information against other
  activists and prepared to go to trial.

  On September 5, two hours before the deadline, federal prosecutors
  relented and offered a new deal, which required Mason only to name Frank
  Ambrose in her plea bargain. No information that Ambrose had not already
  provided was required from her. Additionally, the plea bargain included
  clauses that do not require her to perform any debriefs (as other
  non-cooperating Green Scare arrestees did) and did not require any
  additional testimony.

  Mason consulted with several different attorneys concerning this offer,
  including Lauren Regan of the Civil Liberties Defense Center in Eugene,
  Oregon. Their conclusion was that, despite the fact that Mason would be
  required to name Ambrose in her deal, no activists would be hurt by this
  agreement, including Ambrose himself. The likely reason that Mason is
  required to name Ambrose is because one of the four charges against Mason
  is "conspiracy", and another person is required to be named for the
  charge.

  After holding out for six months and preparing to go to trial rather than
  compromise other activists, this is not the deal that Mason would like to
  accept, but it is the only option that federal authorities have offered.
  Because of the cooperation of her former husband Ambrose, there is no
  expectation that Mason would win a jury trial. Part of this decision is
  also the long sentences handed to the very few Green Scare arrestees who
  have gone to trail, such as Eric McDavid, as is the intense financial and
  emotional strain that this process is taking on Mason's immediate family.

  Mason thanks her supporters for all their efforts. She understands that
  some of them will be unhappy with her decision to accept a plea bargain
  which names only Frank Ambrose, even though no additional information is
  provided about him which he has not already divulged by him, and that her
  own predicament is because of his choice to cooperate with authorities.
  However, after holding out for six months in hope of a full
  non-cooperating plea, and preparing to go to trial despite the impact it
  will have on her family and her future, she has decided to accept this
  offer.

  In the spirit of full transparency, the plea bargain will be made public
  shortly.




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