[Ppnews] Scott DeMuth Agrees to Plea Bargain in Midwest "Animal Terrorism" Case
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Sep 14 10:03:21 EDT 2010
Scott DeMuth Agrees to Plea Bargain in Midwest "Animal Terrorism" Case
by from tcimc
Monday Sep 13th, 2010 6:36 PM
Tuesday was supposed to be the beginning of a lengthy Green Scare
trial in Davenport, Iowa, seeking to find Scott DeMuth guilty of
conspiracy to commit animal enterprise terrorism in relation to an
Animal Liberation Front action at the University of Iowa. But on
Monday afternoon in federal court, DeMuth agreed to a deal on a
different charge--calling off the trial and leaving the FBI
empty-handed on the 2004 animal experimentation facility raid.
Under the deal, DeMuth pled guilty to a misdemeanor conspiracy to
commit animal enterprise terrorism charge regarding an animal
liberation and vandalism at a Minnesota mink farm in 2006. The
agreement calls for no more than six months imprisonment, to begin in
January. He could have faced years in prison if convicted in the
Iowa action, which caused significantly more economic damage. In
this extremely conservative federal district, the court has sided
with the prosecution over the motions of DeMuth's attorney Michael
Deutsch at every turn.
After the prison sentence, DeMuth will be placed on supervised
probation, but without electronic home monitoring or a fine. His
plea does not implicate anyone else in the alleged conspiracy, and he
will not have to testify against anyone.
The deal also means that Carrie Feldman, previously jailed on civil
contempt in the case, and another person, Sonia Silvernail, are
released from their subpoenas to the trial. The two would have been
forced testify for the government or risk contempt charges.
Monday's resolution was mediocre at best for the federal government's
crusade to criminalize aboveground activity in support of animal
liberation and animal liberation prisoners through terrorism
charges. In July, charges against <http://aeta4.org>four California
activists indicted under the AETA were dismissed because the
government could not clearly define what crimes they were being
alleged to have committed. The prosecutor there had sought to vilify
such simple acts as protesting and sidewalk chalking by the activists.
indictment against DeMuth--who is not a vegan or vegetarian, as most
animal liberationists are--in April of this year expanded his
original charge to add an alleged but unspecified involvement in the
2006 raid of Lakeside Ferrets. The former mink farm sits in the
central Minnesota town of Howard Lake, an hour west of Minneapolis.
An ALF communique after that raid said in part, "To all fur farmers,
furriers, and profiters of death, this is the last warning: close
down your businesses, or with boltcutters, fire, and storm, we'll do
it for you. You can try to scare us, you can try to imprison us, and
you can even try to kill us, but the day we stop will be the day that
the last animal has been freed from its cage."
Peter Young, author of the animal liberation news site Voice of the
On April 29th, 2006, anonymous activists cut holes in the fence,
entered the breeder shed, and released hundreds of mink. ... The Fur
Commission USA claimed after the raid that activists mistook ferrets
for mink, and in fact the "mink farm" was actually a ferret farm.
While there is evidence to suggest the farm is now a ferret farm, the
location in Howard Lake was at one time called the Latzig Mink Ranch.
The farm was the site of one of the first-ever mink releases in the
U.S. in 1996, when 1,000 mink were liberated.
Hundreds of animals were also saved from torture and death via the
raid on Spence Laboratories on November 14, 2004. It also left
$450,000 in damages. A
<http://www.directaction.info/news_nov18_04.htm>communique after that
action said in part,
This was not thoughtless vandalism but a methodical effort to cripple
the UI psychology department's animal research. Only equipment in
rooms where animals were confined and tortured were targeted. Only
computers belonging to or used in the work of vivisectors were
destroyed. Only documents of animal researchers waere doused in acid.
The acid a deliberately chosen paper dissolving agent. Our goal is
total abolition of all animal exploitation. Achieved in the short
term by delivering the 401 animals from UI's chamber of hell. And in
the extended term by shutting down the labs through the erasing of
research and equipment used in the barbaric practice of vivisection.
The entire raid was a careful and deliberate 5-pronged assault on
UI's animal research.
The raid and arson had been a coveted
<http://greenisthenewred.com>Green Scare case for the FBI, whose
frustration at a lack of leads apparently led them to find the best
target they could muster on shoddy evidence, much of it gained from
an unrelated raid of DeMuth's home during the the 2008 Republican
DeMuth is known for his organizing in the Dakota community and in
support of political prisoners of all stripes, which supporters
speculate may well be a reason he was targeted.
The defense had argued that the indictment on November 19, 2009,
shortly after he and Carrie Feldman refused to cooperate with a grand
jury investigation, fell after the five-year statute of limitations
for the crime. But the prosecution prevailed in their argument that
the statute of limitations could be extended due to a technicality.
In an article in the University of Iowa newspaper the Daily Iowan
Monday morning, UI sociology professor Kevin Leicht said, "It's going
to be interesting to see how the trial unfolds, because it's been
quite a while since the vandalism happened in the first place. It
will be interesting to see what type of information comes out. I'm
definitely going to watch."
Professor Jennifer Glanville added, "I would love to see the people
who actually committed this crime be convicted," and also indicated
she would watch the trial.
If both had actually been following in the case up to this point,
they would have noted that prosecutor Clifford Cronk's attempted to
undermine DeMuth's academic integrity by seeking information on his
own sociological research. Other scholars, including DeMuth's
advisor and many colleagues at the University of Minnesota, have
chosen to stand for academic freedom by supporting DeMuth and forming
the group Scholars for Academic Justice.
After the 2004 raid, the University of Iowa announced that its new
$11.2 million animal experimentation facility would be built
underground, indicative of the fear such universities have of their
daily business harming animals coming into the public light.
Today's developments in court, shutting the door on a conviction over
the raid, ought to rightfully give so-called animal researchers
unease in the knowledge that animal liberationists will not be easily
deterred. Ironically, 400 mink were released from a fur farm in
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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