[Ppnews] Carrie Feldman - Stuck 3 months in Iowa jail for refusal to testify

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Feb 22 11:26:14 EST 2010

Stuck 3 months in Iowa jail for refusal to testify

Feds say the Minneapolis woman may have information on terrorist acts.

By <http://www.startribune.com/bios/19363479.html>ABBY SIMONS, Star Tribune

Last update: February 21, 2010 - 11:43 PM

Having sat three months now in an Iowa jail, 
Carrie Feldman of Minneapolis is a hero to scores 
of animal-rights defenders around the world.

But to the U.S. government, the 20-year-old 
left-wing political activist is a potential 
witness who may know something about a daring 
break-in more than five years ago at a University of Iowa laboratory.

When she refused to testify before a grand jury, 
a judge ordered her jailed Nov. 17 for contempt 
of court. She's been in a cell ever since and 
could legally be held 11 months if she continues her silence.

Her attorney and supporters say Feldman's plight 
illustrates how the U.S. government runs 
roughshod over citizens who resist policies they 
believe unjust. But officials of that government 
have said she may have ties to domestic terrorist 
groups and has a duty to tell what she knows.

In a recent interview, Feldman said she was 15 at 
the time of the break-in, didn't participate in it and doesn't know who did.

The Nov. 14, 2004, attack on Spence Laboratories 
drew widespread attention when members of the 
Animal Liberation Front (ALF) released video of 
themselves breaking into the lab, rescuing 
hundreds of rats and mice, smashing computers and 
dumping chemicals. Damages totaled $450,000.

For five years, police made no arrests. Then, in 
November 2009, they arrested Feldman and her 
former boyfriend, Scott DeMuth, 22, for refusing 
to testify to the grand jury despite offers of 
immunity. Shortly thereafter, the grand jury 
indicted DeMuth in the break-in. He says he's innocent.

Ironically, DeMuth, still uncooperative but now a 
defendant, was allowed to post bail, return to 
the Twin Cities and await trial. Feldman, though 
not charged in the break-in, sits in jail.

"They're really using her as a pawn in this whole 
thing," said her attorney, Jordan Kushner of Minneapolis.

Feldman said she refused to testify because she 
opposes the grand jury system and how, in her 
belief, it undercuts citizens' rights.

"It's a principle thing for me," she said by 
telephone from jail, adding that her case shows 
"how easy it is for [the federal government] to 
abuse the statutes and the secrecy that surrounds 
it all. I haven't seen any evidence of why they 
want my testimony or [have] any reason to hold me."

Evidence not shown

Clifford Cronk, U.S. Attorney for that region, declined to discuss the case.

His office presented evidence to judges that 
attorneys for the pair have not seen. Those 
documents purportedly argue that a conspiracy 
surrounding the break-in continued after the 
crime, justifying the charge against DeMuth even 
though the five-year statute of limitations for the crime had expired.

Prosecutors have said that evidence, if revealed, 
could affect testimony or compromise the case against unindicted suspects.

DeMuth, a University of Minnesota graduate 
student, is charged with animal enterprise 
terrorism. He was 17 at the time of the break-in.

Prosecutors say they can link DeMuth to the 2008 
Republican National Convention Welcoming 
Committee, which planned to disrupt the RNC in 
St. Paul. DeMuth was never arrested or charged 
with RNC-related activities. They also say he's 
been part of anti-government protests.

"Defendant's writings, literature, and conduct 
suggest that he is an anarchist and associated 
with the ALF movement," Cronk wrote. "Therefore, he is a domestic terrorist."

DeMuth's attorney, Michael Deutsch of Chicago, 
has filed motions for dismissal on several 
grounds; a trial is scheduled to get underway in March.

Though Feldman and DeMuth's case files are sealed 
by court order, both have provided documents to 
supporters who post them online.

Defining anarchism

Feldman, who studied two years at St. Catherine 
University before taking time off, is, like 
DeMuth, active in several Minnesota 
organizations, including Coldsnap Legal 
Collective and Earth Warriors are OK! (EWOK!), 
which supports people arrested during environmental or animal rights protests.

She was volunteering with Coldsnap when she was 
arrested during the RNC and said Ramsey County 
Sheriff Robert Fletcher told her she was 
suspected of conspiracy to commit a riot. 
Officials released her without charges. She, like 
Deutsch, believes the RNC connections could be linked to the current arrest.

"Feldman likely has knowledge about persons 
associated with ALF; she does not deny it," Cronk 
argued in writing. "The nature of her arguments 
which deflect attention from her and attacks the 
government suggest that she does."

Jim Feldman, called to the stand during his 
daughter's November contempt hearing, says he 
answered "yes" when asked if she was an anarchist.

"In retrospect, I should have asked Cronk to 
define his term," he said in an e-mail. 
"Subsequent statements from him indicate that he 
thinks anarchism equates to being a terrorist 
intent on using violent means to take down the government."

The government notes that in 2006 Carrie Feldman 
owned white rats similar to those sprung from the 
laboratory. Her mother, Julia Philips, said the 
pets came from a friend and the humane society. 
She said the government's insinuation is "kind of wacky."

Kushner, whose appeals for Feldman's release have 
twice been denied, continues to try, with a 
latest court ruling expected Monday.

Feldman said she's prepared to do the whole 11 months, if necessary. She adds:

I don't think they should have the right to force 
me to testify or bully me by holding me in jail 
because I'm involved in political activism."

Abby Simons • 612-673-4921

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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