[Ppnews] Jurors get 2 views of Texan charged in RNC Molotov cocktail case

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jan 27 10:40:36 EST 2009

Jurors get 2 views of Texan charged in RNC Molotov cocktail case

<mailto:dhanners at pioneerpress.com?subject=TwinCities.com:%20Jurors%20get%202%20views%20of%20Texan%20charged%20in%20RNC%20Molotov%20cocktail%20case>By 
David Hanners
dhanners at pioneerpress.com

Updated: 01/26/2009 07:00:58 PM CST

Jurors today got two different views of David Guy 
McKay, the Texan accused of turning an apartment 
building a few feet from St. Paul Cathedral into 
a bomb-making factory during last summer's Republican National Convention.

To the prosecution, McKay, 23, was a protester 
bent on destruction, and the eight Molotov 
cocktails he is accused of assembling posed a 
"grave risk of serious injury or even death to 
innocent people," Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Paulsen told jurors.

But as far as the defense is concerned, McKay is 
an earnest young man swayed by the influence of 
an older activist ­ a man who pushed McKay 
towards violence, only to turn out to be a paid 
FBI informant, said defense attorney Jeffrey DeGree.

"David McKay should be found not guilty because 
the government went too far. The word for that is 
'entrapment,' " DeGree said in his opening 
remarks on the trial's first day. "The government 
conduct in this case is appalling. The agent's conduct is appalling."

The government, he said, "is more responsible for 
making these Molotov cocktails than anybody else."

Testimony begins Tuesday.

McKay is standing trial on charges that he made 
and possessed an unregistered firearm, which is 
how federal law classifies a Molotov cocktail. 
He's also charged with possessing destructive 
devices that lacked serial numbers.

He was one of two men from Austin, Texas, 
indicted by the government last fall in 
connection with the Molotov cocktails, which were 
discovered in the basement of a house in the 200 
block of Dayton Avenue, about half a mile from 
the Xcel Energy Center, where the convention was held.

Earlier this month, the other defendant, Bradley 
Neil Crowder, 23, pleaded guilty to possessing 
Molotov cocktails. Testifying against McKay was 
not a part of the plea bargain he reached with 
prosecutors, and when Paulsen read off a list of 
the witnesses the government intends to call, Crowder's name was not on it.

But prominent on the list was Brandon Darby, a 
former firebrand activist-turned-government 
informant. And in opening statements to nine 
women and five men who make up the 12-member jury 
with two alternates, both Paulsen and DeGree made 
it clear that there'd probably be no case without 
Darby ­ but they mentioned it for different reasons.

Paulsen painted Darby, 32, who now lives in 
Austin, Texas, as a committed activist "known in 
the past for his rhetoric, sometimes 
revolutionary rhetoric." But he'd worked 
undercover for the government in the past, and so 
the FBI asked him to infiltrate a loose-knit 
group of people in Austin who were planning to 
come to St. Paul to protest during the GOP 
convention the first week of September.

Originally, Darby had agreed only to pass along 
information. But when McKay disclosed to him that 
he had built and planned to use Molotov 
cocktails, the FBI asked Darby to wear a "wire" 
and he agreed to do so for the first time in the case, Paulsen said.

McKay allegedly first planned to use the devices 
at a checkpoint where vehicles were inspected 
before going to the convention center, but then 
decided to use them against law enforcement cars 
in a parking lot, Paulsen told jurors.

"At no time did he encourage or incite Mr. 
McKay," Paulsen said. "He does not believe in 
violence and he doesn't want to see anybody get hurt."

But DeGree said Darby entrapped McKay, and were 
it not for Darby's involvement, there'd be no crime.

"This is a case of a government informant who 
took it upon himself to make things happen," 
DeGree said as he got up to address jurors.

"Make no mistake about it, ladies and gentlemen: 
This case is about Brandon Darby," he said.

DeGree described McKay's upbringing ­ the son of 
a Canadian chef and model, the subject of a 
bitter custody dispute, a self-taught graphic 
artist ­ and said that when he moved to Austin 
and got involved in social-justice issues, he 
fell under the spell of a charismatic Darby.

Darby, he said, "was a larger-than-life character 
in Austin, Texas." Pacing back and forth in back 
of a podium, DeGree told jurors that Darby "was a 
revolutionary ­ his words" and "an enemy of the 
U.S. government ­ his words" who even once went 
to Venezuela to try to get funding from the government of Hugo Chavez.

But DeGree said McKay and others in the Austin 
group looked up to Darby, and the informant egged 
them on and fanned the flames of violent 
activism, even telling them at one point, "You 
guys look like a bunch of tofu eaters. You better 
start eating meat and bulking up."

Although DeGree and McKay's father had hinted in 
previous interviews that they intended to raise 
the issue of entrapment, DeGree made it official 
Sunday when he filed a proposed jury instruction 
­ to be read before jurors begin deliberations ­ covering entrapment.

He said that if McKay had no intent or 
disposition to possess a Molotov cocktail before 
meeting Darby, and was "induced or persuaded" by 
Darby to break the law, then he was entrapped and 
would have to be acquitted, DeGree argued.

He acknowledged in the proposal that there'd be 
no entrapment if McKay had the intent or 
disposition to build the devices before meeting 
the informant, "even though Brandon Darby 
provided a favorable opportunity to commit the 
crime or made committing the crime easier or even 
participated in acts essential to the crime."

In his opening argument, Paulsen said that after 
McKay was arrested, he gave a "full confession" to an FBI agent.

"Noticeably absent in that confession is that 
Brandon Darby or anybody else influenced him," Paulsen said.

David Hanners can be reached at 612-338-6516.

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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