2-29-08 Briana Waters trial is in deliberations.
2-29-08 Brianna Waters trial is in deliberations and could be done today.
The trial part of the Briana Waters case is over as of this morning when
the jury was given last instructions by the court to begin deliberations.
This morning, The defense objected to the prosecution's closing statement
and called for a mistrial. The objections were based on the grounds that
Mr Bartlett misspoke about several points during his closing statement.
The worse one was that he referenced and placed on the jury's screen an
exhibit that had not been offered nor admitted to the court. The exhibit
in question was Justin Solondz's bank records during the time of May 2001.
There was an ATM withdrawal on May 19th 2001 of $200. This was the same
day that Rob Corina rented a car allegedly at the request of Brianna
Waters. The prosecution claimed that Justin gave the $200 to Briana to pay
for the car rental which was about $187. Mr Corina had deposited $200 to
his bank account the next week. The defense motioned for a mistrial in
light of the fact that the prosecution was using the car rental records as
well as Lacey Phillabaum's and Rob Corina's testimonies to tie Brianna to
the arson at the Center for Urban Horticulture. The prosection didn't
think the exhibit was of enough importance to have a mistrial. The Defense
did. Suprise suprise, Judge Bergess chose to not allow a mistrial and
called the jury in to give curative instuctions so that the bank records
of Justin Solondz were not to be taken into account when discussing the
verdict. The Defense has made an objection for the record to help
facilitate an appeal if needed.
Friday, February 29, 2008
Arson case goes to jury
TACOMA — A jury will begin deliberations this morning in the trial of a
former Olympia resident accused of participating in an arson that
destroyed a University of Washington research center nearly seven years ago.
The government contends Briana Waters, 32, served as a lookout as four
co-conspirators broke into the UW's Center of Urban Horticulture and
placed an incendiary device that burst into flame around 3 a.m. on May 21,
2001. Waters, who now lives in Oakland, Calif., has denied involvement in
the arson and said she likely was asleep in Olympia when it occurred. She
was attending The Evergreen State College at the time.
She faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 35 years in prison, if convicted
of all crimes, including arson, conspiracy and use of a destructive device
during a crime of violence. Attorneys for the government and Waters used
their closing arguments Thursday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to focus
on the testimony of two women who confessed to their role in the arson and
separately took the stand to identify Waters as a co-conspirator.
Prosecutors said the testimony of Jennifer Kolar, Lacey Phillabaum and
others corroborated physical evidence they could not know existed unless
they were telling the truth.
They said Waters' defense counsel had no factual evidence to undercut
their theory of Waters' involvement in the arson, leaving her to claim she
is telling the truth while everyone else is lying.
"Her lies tell you she's guilty," First Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark
Bartlett told the jurors. "She can't tell you a better story than this."
Waters' attorney, Robert Bloom, countered that the government's case was
built on the word of two women — whom he described as "criminals" — who
agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in exchange for lesser prison
"She has lied in this very courtroom," Bloom said of Kolar, "and they're
asking you to rely on her to convict Briana Waters."
Bloom said both women had reasons to be bitter at Waters. Waters testified
that she turned down a sexual advance by Kolar and had a heated
confrontation with Phillabaum about Phillabaum's alleged sexual encounter
with Waters' then-boyfriend, Justin Soldondz.
Prosecutors allege Soldondz was part of the five-member team and is now a
fugitive. William Rodgers, a close friend of Waters and the apparent
ringleader in this and other arsons, committed suicide in an Arizona jail
cell shortly after his arrest in 2005.
"This woman is innocent," Bloom said. "She didn't do this. The evidence
that has been presented is not credible evidence."
Bartlett acknowledge that both women had a motive to cooperate with
prosecutors. What, he asked, was their motive in identifying Waters? To
conspire together to frame an innocent woman?
"That's just a bunch of garbage, and you know it," he told the jurors.
The attorneys also sparred over whether Waters' stop at Ralph's Thriftway
in Olympia about eight hours before the fire proved she had an alibi.
A record provided by her defense team shows Waters made a $13 purchase at
Ralph's at 7:12 p.m., and Bloom said she wouldn't have had time to get to
Seattle and meet the group at a restaurant before they drove to the UW
Prosecutors countered that Waters had time to arrive at the restaurant
between 8 and 9 p.m., the hour the two women testified the group gathered.
An FBI agent testified earlier in the day that he made the trip from the
grocery store to the Seattle restaurant Wednesday evening in 68 minutes.
"This is some kind of exculpatory evidence?" Bartlett asked, referring to
the receipt. "Don't be ridiculous."
But Waters' defense team held fast, documenting there was Interstate 5
construction and local road closures that evening that would have
lengthened the commute.
"It's not 68 minutes," Bloom said. "It's an hour and 68 minutes."
Waters asked her cousin to secure the rental car that she and other
co-conspirators drove to Seattle, telling him she would be able to move
some of her belongings from his home. The evening before the arson, Waters
asked to borrow the car because she was ill and needed to go to the
emergency room. Representatives of Providence St. Peter Hospital and
Capital Medical Center said they had no records of her going to their
emergency rooms. She later told her cousin she drove to Seattle to receive
Soldondz's bank records show he withdrew $200 in cash on May 19, the day
the car was rented. Waters' cousin deposited $200 in cash — his lone cash
deposit of the year — several days later.
Prosecutors allege Waters was a member of a cell of the Animal Liberation
Front and Earth Liberation Front known as "The Family," whose members set
or attempted to set at least 17 fires between 1996 and 2001 throughout the
Northwest and in Colorado.
The group wanted to destroy corporate and government operations they
thought were harming the environment and animals, and prosecutors said
they targeted the UW research center under the mistaken belief that
genetic engineering of poplar trees was taking place there.
Another arson occurred on the same morning at an Oregon poplar farm,
allegedly by another five-member group of the ALF/ELF cell.
The center was rebuilt at a cost of $7 million and reopened three years ago.
Christian Hill covers the city of Lacey and military for The Olympian. He
can be reached at 360-754-5427 or email@example.com.
Not Guilty Plea In 1983 Armed RobberyBy EDMUND H. MAHONY Courant Staff Writer February 29, 2008
Avelino Gonzalez Claudio, a reputed member of the militant Puerto Rico independence group Los Macheteros, pleaded not guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Hartford to more than a dozen charges connected to the 1983 armed robbery of $7.1 million from the former Wells Fargo armored car depot in West Hartford.
Gonzalez, 65, a fugitive for more than 20 years, was captured in Puerto Rico by the FBI on Feb. 7. He is believed to have lived on the island since the robbery and, at least recently, was teaching at a private school under an assumed name.
After two brief court appearances on the island this month, a U.S. District judge in Puerto Rico ordered him transferred to Hartford, where he now is scheduled to stand trial for participating in what, in 1983, was the largest cash robbery in U.S. history.
He is accused of multiple counts of robbery by force of a federally insured bank, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, the interstate or foreign transport of stolen goods, and conspiracy against the United States.
Records seized from Los Macheteros in Puerto Rico more than two decades ago show that the group, which means machete wielders or cane cutters in Spanish, intended to use the money to further its armed struggle for independence from the U.S. and to support leftist insurgencies in Latin America.
Among other things, Los Macheteros took credit for blowing up 11 fighter jets at a National Guard air base and killing two sailors during an attack on a U.S. Navy bus. Both events took place in Puerto Rico.
Thursday, Gonzalez, a thin, ascetic-looking man with a graying beard and long brown hair, was escorted into a small Hartford courtroom in manacles and a bright orange prison jump suit. During the brief proceeding, he listened intently to a Spanish translator and quietly answered "not guilty" when asked for his plea to the charges.
He was one of more than a dozen Puerto Rico nationalists indicted in the spectacular 1983 robbery, which was carried out with the support of the government of Cuba. Los Macheteros recruited a young man from Hartford, Victor Gerena, to obtain employment at Wells Fargo and act as inside man during the robbery.
Afterward, the group moved Gerena and the cash to Mexico City hidden behind false walls in a motor home. A former Cuban diplomat has said Gerena later was flown to Cuba after Cuban agents disguised him and provided him with a fraudulent Argentine passport. More than $2 million of the stolen cash went to Cuba with Gerena, according to the U.S. government and a former Cuban government source.
Gerena is one of about 90 U.S. fugitives believed to have been granted asylum by former Cuban President Fidel Castro.
With Gonzalez's capture, Gerena and Gonzalez's brother Norberto are the only suspects in the robbery who remain at large. Macheteros founder Filiberto Ojeda Rios died in a shootout with FBI agents in September 2005 at a home where he was hiding in the mountains of western Puerto Rico.
Several sources familiar with the radical independence movement in Puerto Rico have said Gonzalez held a senior position in Los Macheteros at the time of the robbery, an operation the group had code-named Aguila Blanca, or White Eagle. In addition, they said he was one of four Macheteros who drove Gerena to Mexico.
Contact Edmund H. Mahony at emahony@courant.
Date: Thu, February 28, 2008
Our apologies for not getting this out before today. We know that many of
you are anxious to know what is happening with Eric's new trial motion.
Unfortunately, we found out yesterday that Eric's hearings have been moved
yet again. Due to circumstances beyond anyone's control (the flu doesn't
care about court dates and hearings), the new trial motion hearing has
been pushed back to Thursday, March 6 at 9 am. The sentencing hearing
will more than likely be rescheduled for March 13.
We know how frustrating this is for everyone - especially those of you who
are making an extra effort to be here to support Eric at his sentencing.
Thank you all for sticking with us. Your love and dedication make the
road so much smoother...
Jury gets case of defendant in 2001 University of Wash. arson
By Gene Johnson
7:18 p.m. February 28, 2008
TACOMA, Wash. – The three-week trial of a violin teacher charged in a
notorious 2001 fire-bombing at the University of Washington came to a
Briana Waters, 32, of Oakland, Calif., faces a mandatory minimum of 35
years in prison if convicted of conspiracy, arson, and use and possession
of a destructive device.
The fire, which destroyed the university's Center for Urban Horticulture,
was one of at least 17 fires set by radical activists with the Earth
Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front from 1996 to 2001.
Waters maintained her innocence on the stand Wednesday, despite the
testimony of two women convicted in the fire and records suggesting she
obtained a rental car used in the crime. Her lawyer, Robert Bloom,
insisted during closing arguments Thursday that the women, Lacey
Phillabaum and Jennifer Kolar, lied on the witness stand in an attempt to
frame her and win lighter sentences.
First Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Bartlett urged jurors not to buy it.
Phillabaum and Kolar had no reason to identify Waters falsely.
“Her story is ridiculous,” Bartlett said. “It is a grasp at straws by
someone who is unable to take responsibility for her own actions.”
Bartlett portrayed Waters as an environmentally concerned student at The
Evergreen State College in Olympia who became convinced that “direct
action” was the best way to protect the Earth and change corporate
behavior. In 1998, The New York Times Magazine quoted her, then a senior,
as saying she supported politically motivated arsons as long as no one
She was a close friend of William Rodgers, a leader of the arsonist cell
who committed suicide after being arrested in the UW fire. Prosecutors say
her boyfriend at the time, Justin Solondz, worked at a “clean room” behind
her Olympia home to fashion the incendiary bombs from timers, Tupperware
containers and bladders of gasoline.
Waters first came to the attention of investigators in early 2006, when
Kolar said she had found documents at her home with Waters' name and
remembered that Waters served as a lookout during the arson. In earlier
FBI interviews, Kolar did not mention her – something Bloom seized on in
arguing that Kolar was lying.
But Phillabaum also identified Waters, saying she had obtained the rental
car through a relative, so it would not be traceable. Records from Budget
Rental Car in Olympia later corroborated that: The wife of Waters' cousin
rented a car the weekend of the arson, and the cousin himself testified
that Waters borrowed it, bringing it back with 237 miles used – more than
enough to get to and from Seattle.
Just before the fire the night of May 20, 2001, Solondz withdrew $200 from
an ATM, his bank records showed. On May 29, Waters' cousin deposited $200
cash into his bank account – money to reimburse him for the car rental,
Bloom made much of records from a Ralph's Thriftway grocery store in
Olympia that showed Waters made a $13 purchase at 7:12 p.m. the night of
“Briana Waters could not have been with them. She was at Ralph's Thriftway
at 12 minutes after 7 on that Sunday night,” Bloom insisted.
But Bartlett and Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Friedman argued that
leaving Olympia at 7:12 gave Waters plenty of time to meet up with other
conspirators at Seattle's Greenlake Bar and Grill between 8 and 9 p.m., as
Kolar and Phillabaum testified.
From there, the group went to the horticulture center – targeting it
because they mistakenly believed researchers there were genetically
engineering poplar trees. As Kolar, Solondz and Rodgers broke in and
planted two fire bombs, Waters crouched in nearby bushes with a radio, the
Simultaneously, another group of activists was setting fire to a poplar
farm in Clatskanie, Ore.
In all, more than a dozen people were arrested in connection with the
arsons around the West. Waters was the only one who went to trial rather
than plead guilty.
The university rebuilt the horticulture center at a cost of $7 million.
Jurors were expected to begin deliberating Friday morning.
KBOO Community Radio and Circle A Radio present an afternoon of
information about the San Francisco 8.
Murder Charges Against Former Black Panthers Based on Confessions
Extracted by Torture
On January 23rd, 2007, eight former Black Panthers were arrested on
charges related to the 1971 killing of a San Francisco police officer. The
original charges were thrown out after it was revealed that police used
torture to extract confessions. Now, over thirty-five years after the
initial charges were made, and with no new evidence, they are being
Hank Jones, one of the SF 8, will be in Portland to discuss the case. He
will be joined by Claude Marks and Maisha Quint of the Committee to Free
the Eight, as well as Kent Ford, the former leader of the Portland chapter
of the Black Panther Party. This free event will take place at 1pm on
March 9th at Liberty Hall, 311 N. Ivy.
For more information about the event, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the case:
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Notes from 2/27 of Waters Trial: Briana Waters testimony
Court reconvenes after lunch break. Briana Waters takes stand. Defense
Atty. Bloom examines.
Disclaimer: Since this testimony was recorded through handwritten notes
and the actual spoken testimony went faster than some notes could be
transcribed, some questions and answers may appear incomplete. However,
the bulk of the testimony appears as it was said in court.
Briana Waters = B
D- I forgot to ask about the facilities at The Evergreen State College...
are there soundproof recording studios there?
B- Yes. I'm assuming they are soundproof; I've recorded in them before. D-
Did you live with a cousin, Robert Corina in summer of 2000?
D- Did you babysit during this period?
D- Re: testimony of rental car, do you have memory of rental car?
B- Yes, he asked me if I would move some of my stuff.
D- Did you give Corina money before you left for California?
B- Yes I wanted to contribute $100 for bills and other things.
D- Remembering Watch Mountain, did you have any dealing with law during
B- Yes, the Forest Service- we obtained an extended stay permit to stay
beyond two weeks.
D- Did they renew it?
B- Yes, they renewed it as many times was we needed it to.
D- Did people of Randle come out at any time to treesit? Please explain to
a jury what a tree sit is.
B- (Explains tree sit)
D- Purpose of tree sit?
B-To stop logging of a particular area, and to hopefully obtain media
D- Mark Exhibit for Identification, please. A 2114 Permits from Watch
Mountain. What is this?
B- A flier for a picnic, another permit, same photos from tree sit, a
picture of me on traverse lines, a woman from Randle climbing a tree. D-
(Shows photos) All together how much time did you spend with Watch
B- I guess it was a little under a year.
D- You documented it?
D- Result of campaign?
B- It was mostly successful, Watch Mountain was taken out of the land
D- You heard Mrs. Troxels testimony of bringing people together, can you
tell the jury about this?
B- It was one of the most inspiring experiences of my life. We bridged
gaps between environmentalists and loggers. For me it was a great example
of the way things should be done.
D- Did it make you want to commit arson?
B- No- it had the opposite effect.
D- Remember meeting Bill Rodgers?
B- On campus, maybe at an early meeting for Watch or at the Steel workers
D- Do you remember what the Steel workers action was?
B- To block shipment of ore to promote the publicity of the treatment of
the Steel workers and the cutting of trees was done by one corporation:
B- Late 1998, early 1999
D- Did you know Bill Rodgers?
B -Yes, I knew him as Avalon. He seemed nice, he later seemed quite needy.
D- Did he ask you to do him a favor?
B- Yes, he asked me to get him a cell phone since his credit was bad. He
paid his bills to me in advance.
D- Did you know this had anything to do with criminal activity?
D- Did you commit any crime with Avalon?
D- There was a question brought up about your website. Can you explain
your financial condition.
B- We get by. I teach violin to children and adults. I sometimes perform
traditional music. John is a carpenter. He tries his best and we cover the
D- But not much beyond that? Since the time Agent Halla has come to you
has your situation gotten better or worse?
D- Were you making a living off of financial contributions?
B- No. We had many different fundraisers, loans from the family.
D- This is not a money making scheme?
B- No, unfortunately it's not.
D- Do you recall why you answered the way you did about the mink release
and arson in the NY Times article?
B- I've never agreed with arson... I think it is alienating and not
D- Do you remember the highlighted articles Ms. Kolar gave to you? B- I
thought it was unfair and wrong to show the articles and attribute them
(the quotes that prosecutor Bartlett read in court) to me. I strongly
disagree with them.
D- Do you want to burn down Disneyland or the Statue of Liberty?
B- (laughing) No.
D- Did you go to the hospital before you moved?
B- Yes I was really sick. It was a gastrointestinal issue. Justin took me
to the ER
D- Did Rob Corina become aware you went to the hospital?
D- This was 7-8m months after May of 2001.
D- Have you been in the Bay area since your move?
D- Did you remember meeting Jen Kolar?
B- Yes... (through social circles)
D- Did you commit arson with her?
D- Did she give you a gift?
B- Yes, a necklace from Hawai'i. She gave it to me at a Thai restaurant at
D- Did she say anything to you?
B- Yes, she told me she felt a connection with me that she's never felt
with any other woman. She felt romantic towards me. I told her I didn't
feel the same way. She was hurt and said she thought I would have a
different response. She was hurt and surprised, like she was used to
getting what she wanted.
D- Did you remember writing a check for Justin?
B- Yes, he was on the east coast.
D- Do you remember a transaction at Ralph's Thriftway in May of 2001? B- No
D- Do you remember how it came about?
B- Mr. Fox showed it to me a few weeks ago.
D- Is Ralph's near Avalon's house on the east side of Olympia?
D- Did you have friends at this part of town?
B- Yes, many friends... I had band practice there and I knew Anthea and
D- Lawson the Assistant Attorney General?
D- Did you hear that a receipt proved you were at Olympia at the time they
are saying you did the UW arson? How did you react to this?
B- Yes, I cried. It gave me a lot of hope.
D- Before Agent Halla came to see you, describe your life.
B- I just had a daughter in January of 2005. I was raising her and
D- Did that change? Has your life been different?
B-Yes-it's stressful. I don't want to be separated from my child (becomes
P- You indicated several weeks ago you received these records (the Ralph's
Thriftway receipt). But you didn't share these with us did you?
B- No I don't share anything with you. My lawyers do.
P- Let's highlight Exhibit 738, transaction receipts. You say you shop
here a lot. There are your bank records from 2001. Go until you find any
other transactions from Ralph's Thriftway.
B-(Flips through transactions) there are none.
P- During your direct exam, Mr. Bloom Asked many questions related to NY
Times articles. Was this a big deal for you?
B- No I don't remember it happening.
P- (Pulls article up on screen). Ms. Waters, looking at quote, wouldn't
you agree that you were referring to arsons?
B- No I think there could be people who could have gotten hurt in a mink
P- I want to ask you about Watch Mountain, actions directed against Plum
Creek in Seattle.
P- In October of 1999. Individual left leaflets warning employees about
further actions could occur. Weren't individuals putting bike locks around
their necks... ?
P- Didn't you go there to harass employees?
B- I think that's a fair description.
P- Were people arrested? Were employees yelled at and confronted?
P- During this confrontation, people said that whatever it takes, we will
P- What does this mean?
B- That we would pursue any avenue we could to get the timber sale
dropped. P- This wasn't the only time you've had and opinion of how
serious UW arson was? Exhibit1101, Recognize this written as your
attorneys and you. B- Yes
P-(Reads description of UW arson from pleading document)- where it was
described as an act which did not hurt anyone. A misguided attempt... B-
Yes but my lawyers wrote this not me. These are not my words.
P- Isn't it that you change your position for the jury?
B- No this is not true.
P- Do you remember the testimony of Ms. Linn?
P- Please look at the supportbriana.org website. One of the things they
ask for is a support in the court room. They are organized, no?
B- I don't know
P Regarding your website, do you know that your website give instructions
for how to dress and act in court, asking people to wear "court
B- Maybe, I don't know... haven't seen website in a while
D- What is a primary source of income on a month to month basis?
B- My partner's carpentry work.
P- Let me ask you about Bill Rodgers, were you met?
B- We met before Watch Mountain Campaign
P- Close friends? Part of Watch?
B- Just friends, remember seeing him at meetings, but not at treesit. P-
Sometime in 2000 Bill Rodgers asked you to get him a cell phone. You were
poor at the time, didn't even have a cell phone yourself.
B- Yes for whatever reason, he asked me.
P- (Pulls up bill for $91) So in addition to you paying the bill, he uses
this phone to call you a fair amount. (Pulls up phone records from Ocean's
house, Teresa Howell's house). Isn't it fair to say that most of these
calls are for you?
B- No- some were for me, but I wasn't the only person living at those
houses. P- Did you have occasion to talk to him about his environmental
views? B- Mostly we talked about his loneliness... I was mainly a support
person for him (his depression).
P- Didn't you know he was obsessed with direct environmental action? B-
that wasn't what we mainly talked about.
P- In addition to Mr. Rodgers you knew Justin Solondz, your boyfriend.
There was a time he changed his appearance. (Shows pictures of Justin S.
with long hair and goatee, then later with short hair and full beard). B-
P- You knew he was a fugitive, no?
Objection- Defense: He was not a fugitive b/c he had not been arrested.
P- you knew Nathan Block? Ms Savoie? Mr Dibee, Ms, Zacher, Mr. Rodgers..
Shows pictures. Joe Dibee called your house twice, right before and after
the Susanville action.
B- I don't know
P- Ms. Kolar was your friend.
P- In fact you invited her to a screening of "Watch" in Seattle?
B- Possibly, I don't remember
P- Please give Ms Waters Exhibit #___: the folder given to Jen Kolar with
the articles in it. You provided a number of articles to Ms. Kolar? B-
Apparently, I don't remember giving her these articles. We mainly talked
about issues of women in activism, vegetarianism, so I would think that
the articles I gave her would be about that, not these articles here. P-
Ms. Kolar at some point became attracted to you.
P- Could you point out all of the phone calls and emails that Ms. Kolar
sent to you during this time she was supposedly obsessed with you. B- I
didn't say obsessed. I just said attracted.
P-Are you saying that Ms. Kolar was so full of venom after you turned her
down that she is framing you? You were saying that Lacey Phillabaum was
testifying against you b/c you called her an unprincipled slut?
B- I don't know why she's doing this. I'm not inside their heads.
P- Mr. Corina was your cousin. You were close, you stayed with them. There
was never a huge blow up where he indicated hatred of you?
B On Feb 21st Lacey Phillabaum indicated you were the lookout and you had
gotten a rental car . Mr Corina has car records for you the same weekend
of the arson.
B- That's what the records indicate.
P- Do you expect the jury to believe that this is a coincidence?
P- Ms. Waters I want to go back to exhibit___: the call that Mr. Rodgers
made to Ocean's house. Look at exhibit ___: calls from Bill Rodgers phone
at various locations. Do you see the call made to Conger St. June 3rd one
week after the arson... and there are a number of calls over the summer up
to September 13th, at which point you moved out.
B- There were a number of people living there, but sure.
P- Can you look through the manila envelope and see if any of the articles
you sent or gave to Ms. Kolar? Is it your testimony you didn't give her
B- It is possible that Justin gave me some articles to give to her. I
remember talking to her about different things so I don't remember. P- So
she switched the documents?
Objection Defense: Speculation- overruled.
B-I don't know, I can't say.
P- Why did Jen Kolar name you?
B- I don't know, I'm not inside her head. She was probably very scared of
life in prison.
P- So they're lying? And the rental records are a coincidence? And these
are not your articles? And you never took the wireless headset?
B- I don't know, it may be a coincidence. These are not my articles and I
may have taken t he headset when I went to the hospital in January of
Question from defense
D- Did you always use your charge card when you shopped?
B- Sometimes, but I tried not to, because sometimes they charge you when
you use your card, so I tried to use cash.
D- Were you upset when you found out Mr. Rodgers died?
B- Yes, it was sad. He was very depressed... he was obsessed with not
having a girlfriend.
D- And Anthea and Lawson lived near Ralph's.
B- Yes, and other band members.
D- I noticed when Mr. Bartlett asked you about your records he never asked
you if you were at Ralph's Thriftway that night.
B- No he didn't
D- I offer a segment of "Watch".
Judge denied- "same ruling"
D- Judge- he (Prosecutor Bartlett) opened the door...
Judge- Same ruling.
D- I offer the rest of the paragraph from the pleading document that the
Prosecution read from.
Prosecution objects-jury steps out.
Judge grants only a one sentence completion.
D- Mr Bartlett reads a pleading that omitted words. Let me read the rest
of that sentence. "35 years to life for an act that did not hurt anyone...
is outside of the pale." Did you participate or preapprove any wording of
B- No I didn't... any time I spend outside of court I am with my
daughter... my lawyers write all of that.
D- Do you feel this arson is a minor petty crime?
B- No I feel that it is unspeakably terrible for those affected.
D- Ms. Kolar was involved in four arsons...
D- There was a statement made about orchestrating the people in the
stands, are you doing this?
P- No I'd be amazed if I had the time
D- Mr. Bartlett showed 2 exhibits of 55 phone calls from the year 2001
from Mr. Rogers. About one a week, does this seem like a lot from a lonely
D- of the thousands of documents seized in Mr Rodgers home, there was only
one mention of you and that was in the scope of the Watch Mountain video..
D- Mrs. Solondz, Justin's mother was here. Were you surprised to see her?
B- Somewhat b/c she lives on the east coast. I think New Jersey.
D- Did Justin tell you he was leaving the country?
B- I believe so October of 2005.
D- Do you recall the phone calls from Mr. Dibee for one minute each? B- No
D- About these articles, you heard testimony that on the 80 (pages of?)
articles that Ms. Kolar said were from you, your finger prints didn't
appear on any articles.
B- Yes I heard this
D- So you don't know if Ms. Kolar put inflammatory articles...
D- Exhibit___-- email from Jen Kolar to a friend on how she was interested
in a particular woman. I'm reading from toward the bottom. " So I'm not
going out with anyone... proud of me? Joe is becoming a better
ex-boyfriend than a boyfriend... I became obsessed with this particular
woman, Jessica... I'm planning on going to see her, if I have the guts to
ask her out." Did you see this?
D- After Agent Halla came to your home in Berkley did you call friends and
B- Yes I told them they might be contacted, especially if I lived with
them D- Did you ask Mr. Corina to lie? Deny knowing you?
B- No I didn't do any of that. I told them to tell the truth. I'm
innocent. B -Lacey Phillabaum said you were going to rent a car for you-
an older woman or or an aunt. Is Cara Larson older?
B- No, she's younger than me, I think.
D- Mr. Bartlett said that Lacey Phillabaum and Jen Kolar came in
independently, did there come a time during the testimony that Agent Halla
had given factual information to Cara Larson at her work when he said the
car she rented may have been used in an arson?
D -There was a question of Ralph's Thriftway. Did Bill Rodgers live near
D -Why did the prosecution not ask you about a phone call on 5/20/01 at
7:25 to Bill Rodgers?
D- Why would you lie?
D- On that weekend was your stuff moved to Ocean's from Kara's?
B- Rob,my cousin, asked me to move stuff on 5/20 weekend.
D- Were there boxes put in your garage?
D- Do you recall Justin moving boxes into your garage that weekend? B- I
have a vague memory- it wasn't a big event or anything.
D- Justin's car was not available that weekend so Justin used the rental
car to move your boxes.
Defense- no further questions.
P- Phone call to Mr. Corina to tell the truth. On Feb 26 Agent Halla came
to your house. How long was he there for? 15-20 minutes?
B- About fifteen minutes, I'd say that's right.
P-Was it a couple of weeks that you went to another lawyer then retained
Mr. Bloom. After retaining Mr. Bloom did you call and tell Mr. Corina (the
cousin) that you were innocent?
B- Yes, as I recall
D- Did you tell the truth?
B- Yes I did.
D- Any doubt?
Briana Waters (BW) trial 2/27/08
(this is a summary and is not meant to be an actual verbatim transcript)
Defense’s (D) case
exhibit (x) 897 Photo of BW shown to Stan Meyerhoff
D calls Ju-Pong Lin
BW’s teacher at Evergreen (E), taught women’s studies and film
BW took film and video classes and independent studies from her
BW more memorable than other students, in indie studies she was a hard
worker, ethical sophisticated
made video about unsustainable logging on the Gifford-Pinchot NF, it was
about building alliance between loggers and Earth First!ers
Lin went to BW’s website, sent for copy of video, never got it, later sent
letter informer her that heir were tech problems with website, not updated
x1122 3-part student contract and eval: 1. Student contract, 2. teacher
eval, 3. student self-eval
BW did not complete video before graduation because she was involved with
WTO protest, Common to not complete projects, but she did meet her goals.
Had no doubt project would be completed.
D: was she forced to write the eval?
D (Bob Bloom) calls Dale Mann, forensic scientist with MDE Inc of Seattle,
degree in chemistry and oceanography. worked for law enforcement agencies
for 17 years including crime labs, left in 98.
He read court-issued order about not describing difference between
incendiary device and bomb. Incendiary “bomb” needs to explode.
Took special classes about drugs, fires, bombs, plastics and impression
evidence (the study of the impression one object leaves on another when
D: Did he work with fire cases?
A: Primary interest in fire debris analysis, for a while was the only
expert of that in western WA
took trainings from FBI, BATF, also taught to both agencies
Published reports, serves on national fire investigation committee that
reviews published papers
TWIGFEX produces reports
X A180 is TWIGFEX glossary of terms
Prosecution (P) objects since he is not familiar with this glossary, jury
sent out, overruled
Jury back in
D: is an explosive defined?
D: is bomb defined?
D: is a delay device defined?
D: do you agree with these definitions?
D: how many destructive devices has he seen?
A: half a dozen, some very common
D: is gasoline an accelerant?
A: Y, anything used to help materials burn is an accelerant, gas is well
studied, lots of literature on it.
D: Define heat capacity
A: the energy released when burned. There are standards at which certain
substances are known to burn
D: define heat release rate
A: how fast an object release energy when burned
DM: flame height relates directly to diameter of exposed area
D: define ignition energy
A: energy require to light something on fire
D: define flash fire
A: lots of vapors consumed rapidly
Discussion of controlled burns such as those used in forest fire fighting
DM: have conducted many controlled burns, from small ones to burning
entire shopping malls
DM: combustion vs. explosion, combustion has a slower rate or reaction,
explosion releases a shock wave, the rate/speed of energy release is much
DM met with Fox (defense attorney) and was given FBI, BATF and Seattle FD
reports on the west coast fires and the ALF/ELF manual
D: where did he first see the use of the term “bomb” as related to this
case? A: in those reports, BATF 1st used term “bomb.” Bomb is any
explosion that causes shock waves.
D: ALF/ELF manual includes instructions on how to construct and
manufacture delay devices?
D: How to build them/
D: types of fuel to use?
D: does it include a description of the intent of the devices?
A: Y, controlled burns, how the delay device starts the igniter devices,
ignites the matches, which ignites the flare, which ignites the fuel load,
a 5-gallon bucket which would control the evaporation and produce a small
D: was this designed to explode?
DM: clock used to delay, ignition component, sequence model rocket
igniter, lights matches, which lights the flare. Gas used as accelerant.
In UW fire, 2-gallon containers were used, fuel confined. Containers used
to localize the fire. Confinement makes the fire burn longer. A sofa used
as fuel would work as well as gas. It is all a matter of plotting the
curve of energy vs. time. Tests have shown that a cigarette used to start
a sofa on fire can burn a room in 5 minutes.
D; Can a sofa explode?
D: Describe a Molotov cocktail
A: A glass bottle with gasoline and a rag stuck in the top. The rag is the
wick. The wick is lit and then the bottle is thrown. The glass has to
break for it to work.
D: destructive devices come in 3 categories: explosive, incendiary and
P OBJECTS: explosive bomb, incendiary bomb, poison bomb? There actually
are 18 categories, not 6, not 2. It is all irrelevant cine he does is not
too familiar with the document.
COURT TAKES MORNING RECESS
D: The statute defines destructive devices. Was the UW device intended to
D: Did the BATF describe the UW device as an incendiary bomb?
A: N, a destructive device was used in combination with incendiary fuel
ignited with a timed device. The UW device was a destructive device. A
cigarette and a sofa could be considered a destructive device
D: does he have an opinion on whether the UW device was an incendiary bomb?
D: Has he heard of Thomas Keller, a high-profile arsonist?
A: Yes, he likes to sue Bic lighters and just about anything to start fires.
DM: UW device produce a localized and lengthened fire where as a Molotov
would produce a rapidly spreading fire
P: NO QUESTIONS
AT AROUND 11 AM BRIANA WATERS TAKES THE STAND
She is asked about her age, her partner, daughter, family, siblings,
parents, ½ brother, mom (in court), high school. Started playing music at
age 5 or 6, violin, went to college in Dayton, OH for 2 years. Quit
because she could not afford it. Traveled the country looking for a new
school. Transferred to E in 97.
D: Has she testified before today?
D: Is she nervous?
D: Did she make friends at E?
D: Did she join any student groups?
A: Evergreen Animal Rights Network (EARN), Environmental Resource Center
(ERC), music groups.
D: What is her interest in the environment?
A: The same as she hopes everyone’s is, the ability to live sustainably on
She met fellow student Justin Solonz (JS) in 99, months later they
developed a relationship
She first went to Watch Mtn. (WM) in spring of 99, the ERC was involved
with WM. there was much dialogue with the community before the first tree
sit went up. She defined a tree sit as a platform high up in the trees
used to stop logging under the premise that the loggers would not cut the
tree with someone in it.
D: Did she go to WM as an activist or a videographer?
A: She can’t separate. That is what she does; she takes pictures and
documents. She can’t separate documenting and activism in her mind.
In the summer of 99 she started WM project. She went to different groups
and interviewed people. Lots of groups involved, including the people of
Randall, WA. She learned that Plum Creek (PC) only clearcuts. She took a
tour with a PC employee who said that WM was “designed to be clearcut.”
She said that she took 50-100 hours of footage.
She graduated form E in 99, but the documentary project continued
D: Did she hear Lacey Phillabaum’s (LP) and Jen Kolar’s (JK) testimony
that she was involved with the UW arson?
D: Was she involved?
A: Absolutely not
Agent Halla came to her home in Berkeley, CA, on 2-24-06 with another
agent. They gave her info about the UW arson, said she was involved, told
her to speak to Friedman (prosecutor) to get a public defender. She called
him that day. He gave her the number of Peter Avenia, who she also called
D: Did she learn from the agents that they were interested in the May
20/21, 2001, arson at UW 4.5 years after the incident?
D: Is that what reminded her of the time period?
D: Does she have a diary of that time?
D: Did she commit a crime back then that helped remind her of that time? A: N
D: Did she try to think of some incidents to help her remember that time?
A: She completed the Watch film and showed it at E in April
D: So you are not able to sue the crime as a reference point?
D: Were there other screenings of the film?
A: Capitol Theater on 5/01, Seattle in summer of 01. It was shown around
he country, shown at other colleges, shown in SF in 10/01.
D: Has she committed any arsons ever?
D: Did she ever conspire to commit arsons?
D: Does she think arsons are okay?
A: No, she never thought arsons were okay.
D: Does she remember persons speaking on campus?
D: Describe EARN.
A: a campus org that held potlucks, brought speakers to campus, held bake
sales with tabling literature on the table
D: Were these underground activities?
A: No, the opposite
D: EARN invited Craig Rosebraugh (CR) to speak?
A: Yes, she remembers the discussion to bring him to campus because he was
knowledgeable about dissection and vivisection which was a hot topic on E
D: Was CR a controversial person?
A: Yes, because he was the ALF spokesperson
She does not remember much of the speech because she was in charge of
tabling and the bake sale, didn’t hear much of his speech
She has only a vague memory of the NYT reporter at the speech.
D: Does she know his name?
D: Has she seen his questions?
D: Has she seen her answers in print?
D: Does she remember her answers?
A: No, does not deny them, just does not remember them
D: Does she support arson?
D: Has she met LP?
D: Does she remember Sarah Wald’s testimony about a meeting in Feb. 2001?
A: Yes. She met LP at that meeting. She remembers the meeting because it
was 2 days long, a weekend. There were about 20 people there. It was kind
of a spokescouncil, “where can we go from here?” It was at a barn in
D: Did LP have a role there?
A: Yes, she was a facilitator
D: What is a facilitator?
A: Someone who makes sure the meeting runs smoothly, calls on people when
they want to talk
D: were there breakout sessions?
D: was LP in her breakout group?
A: Yes. There were about 10-12 people in that group
D: Did she interact with LP there?
D: Was JS at the meeting?
D: Is there anything she remembers about LP and JS at the meeting? A: Yes,
they were flirting
D: Had JS flirted in the past?
D: Did that cause a problem for you?
D: was there a Sat. evening event?
A: Just hanging out, played fiddle with others
D: Has she heard of ELAW?
D: What is it?
A: environmental law conference
D: Was it public?
D: One time or annual event?
A: annual, in Eugene
D: Did she attend in 2001?
A: Yes. I think it is held in March
D: How many people were there?
A: a couple hundred
D: Was LP there?
D: LP said she met BW at Denny’s. Did you ever meet her at Denny’s? A: No,
D: So that couldn’t have been the first time she met her?
D: Did she go to the meeting in the soundproof room at E?
D: Are there soundproof rooms at E?
BW: You have to be a student to reserve a room at E
D: Did she ever arrange for a room for the meeting?
D: Are there records of room reservations?
JS told her that LP and him had had a sexual relationship. She was very
angry with both of them It affected their relationship. Her and JS broke
up for a while.
D: Did she ever see LP again?
D: After the video was completed, where did she live?
D: Does she know Ocean?
A: Yes, he is a friend.
D: Did he legally change his name to Ocean?
BW: Ocean was in a car accident and then bought a house with the money
from the insurance settlement
D: Did she move in there?
A: Into the back structure, a one-room building
D: Was there running water?
A: No, she used the bathroom in the front house. The front house was under
construction to build a wheelchair ramp, widen the doors, remove or raise
counters, add a new bathroom with a shower that could fit a wheelchair.
There were many workers, 6 or 7. She lived there from the end of April
2001 until the fall of 2001. Ocean moved in to the front house in July
2001. He had here live there while the house was under construction so
that there was someone there, someone to water the garden, plus she needed
a place to live. It was a mutually agreeable arrangement.
D: Did Heather ever come by?
D: Did she announce her arrival?
D: So it would have been hard to be clandestine there with Heather and the
workers coming and going?
She next saw LP at a party at the Ocean’s house (the same house). It was a
daytime party. By that time she had had the discussion with JS about LP.
She did not want LP at her house. She asked LP to take a walk with her
because she did not want to make a scene. They walked over to a schoolyard
that was near the house.
D: What did they talk about?
A: She told LP that what she did was wrong and that LP had disrespected
her, as a feminist and an activist she thought it was wrong. She did not
want LP at her house.
D: Did she call her a slut?
She then went back to her room to cool down. When she went back to the
front house, LP was gone.
D: LP testified that she was at Ocean’s house and that he lived there. Did
D: Were there ever-incendiary devices made there (in her room)?
D: Did she recall plastic sheeting put up there?
D: Have you ever seen an incendiary device outside of the ones shown to
her in pictures?
D: Did she ever have one built in her living space?
D: Has she ever rented a car?
D: Has her cousin (Robert Corrina) ever rented a car?
D: Was RC married?
A: Not then
She moved to Olympia before RC. He called and she told him what Olympia
was like. They (RC and Kara Larson) moved to Olympia. Kara was pregnant.
They moved in with her. Then they moved to Capitol Way. She stayed in
touch with them. She moved to Berkeley in 2002. She spoke to them once or
twice per week.
D: Was there ever a period where you were not speaking?
A: Yes. Her housemate/boyfriend Paul used to smoke in the house. RC had a
problem with him smoking in the same room as pregnant Kara. BW agreed but
did not like the fact that RC wanted her to speak to him about it instead
of speaking to him directly. Her, RC and Kara made up at the Capitol
Theater when they ran into each other while attending some random film.
Then they resumed a normal cousin relationship.
D: Can she remember a couple of different car rentals of the Corrina’s?
Were they memorable?
A: No. She does remember requests form RC to move her stuff out of the
house numerous requests.
Civil Rights Outreach Committee
For Release: Thursday, Feb. 28, 2008
Lauren Regan, Attorney 541-687-9180
Jeffrey "Free" Luers Sentence Reduced to 10 Years
February 28, 2008 (Eugene, OR)- This morning at 9:00am in Lane County
Circuit Court the re-sentencing hearing for Jeffrey Luers took place in
front of Judge Billings. This followed an Oregon court of appeals ruling
in February 2007 that Luers original sentence of 22 years 8 months by
Judge Lyle Velure was illegal, and the appeals court remanded the case
back to Lane County Circuit Court for re-sentencing. Following the appeals
court decision, negotiations have resulted in the decision today to reduce
Luers sentence to 10 years, bringing his release date to late December
In June 2001, then 23 year-old Jeffrey "Free" Luers was arrested for the
burning of three trucks at a Eugene car dealership. His stated purpose was
to raise awareness about global warming and the role that SUVs and trucks
play in that process. Despite the fact that this action hurt no one,
caused only $28,000 in damages and the cars were later resold, Luers
received the draconian sentence imposed by Velure.
Luers gained support locally as well as all over the world as a political
prisoner. It is widely believed that Luers received such a drastic
sentence because of the political nature of the action he took. Following
his original sentence, Amnesty International and the Eugene Human Rights
Commission (EHRC) issued letters of support citing that the sentence
appeared to be politically motivated. During the course of his trial,
statements were made by the police and prosecuting attorney that indicated
it was Luers' political views on trial, not merely his actions. His
defense successfully proved that evidence had been tampered with, officers
had lied and that the prosecutor had manipulated evidence to get a legal
search warrant at his residence. Luers was given a sentence that attempted
to send the message to environmental and social justice activists that
even a merely symbolic act of property destruction could be punished more
harshly than many crimes against persons.
Prior to his imprisonment, Luers was a very well respected community
activist in Eugene, Oregon involved with forest defense and cooking free
food for the city's homeless population. He has remained active from
prison, often writing news articles and monthly dispatches to his growing
list of supporters. With a release date on the horizon, Luers future is
bright and he plans to pursue courses and looks forward to sharing quality
time with his family and loved ones.
Statement from Jeffrey Luers:
"Today I feel a great weight lifted off of me, and my loved ones. While I
believe my new sentence is still more of a reflection of my activism and
my dissent than my actual crimes; I am looking forward to my much closer
I am proud of the many things I have accomplished while incarcerated,
including reaching beyond oceans and borders to help raise awareness about
global warming and to help combat social injustice.
I am thankful of my family, friends and the thousands of supporters and
fellow activists from around the world who have stood by me since day one.
And I'd especially like to thank my attorneys, and friends. Lauren Regan,
Misha Dunlap and Shawn Wiley for never giving up on getting me out sooner
than 22 years.
I am happy to say this journey is almost over and I'll be coming home soon."
For more information, go to www.cldc.org and www.freejeffluers.org.
Jeffrey (Free) Luers Resentencing Hearing, Feb. 28, 2008
Lane County Circuit Court Sentencing Hearing in front of
Judge J.A. Billings Present: Defendant Jeffrey Luers,
Attorneys Lauren Regan, Jess Barton and Hugh Duvall on
behalf of Mr. Luers; Assistant District Attorney Erik
Hasselman on behalf of the State of Oregon.
Statement of Jeffrey Luers to Judge Billings at Sentencing
It has been many years since I first stood in court to be
sentenced for these actions. I now not only have the
benefit of hindsight but also possess the knowledge and
understanding that comes from leaving the naiveté of youth
I can now say with all honesty that I was wrong to think
that arson would inspire social change. But, my failure
in understanding that does not mean I have changed my
opinion of radical activism.
Mr. Hassleman has a written statement from me in which I
have acknowledged being wrong. I have also committed to
living the life of a law-abiding citizen and promoting my
activism through legal means and channels.
Understandably, the prosecutor has expressed some
skepticism of my sincerity. I wish to lay those fears to
I am truly excited about my future. Through the love and
support of my family, friends and many people I do not
even know, I have numerous options available to me. I am
looking forward to furthering my education, and pursuing
my goals through hard work. I am ready to share my life
with my loved ones and I am dedicated to giving back to
the community that has shown me so much love and support
through these years of imprisonment. That is not the lip
service the prosecutor may fear, but my sincere desire to
move on with my life.
However, choosing to take a new path and recognizing my
mistakes and failures does not make me ashamed of them. I
am sorry if my actions instilled fear or the sense of
victimization in the Romania family. That was never my
I sought to promote change through radical struggle. I
viewed the refusal of our government and corporate
institutions to address the issues and dire consequences
of global warming as legitimate reasons for direct action.
I still believe that government and corporate inaction is
a legitimate reason for direct action. Yet, I recognize
that militant struggle has failed to create widespread
social change for many reasons. And I’m not sure if it is
even capable of creating the change we desperately need.
We are witnessing a mass extinction event taking place in
our life times. The world’s top scientists are warning
that by the middle of this century, 30 to 50 percent of
all living species could be extinct. There are
predictions of 250 million people, or more, dying for lack
of water and food. Fears that melting glaciers in Alaska
and Greenland could catastrophically raise global sea
levels. While here at home our leading climate scientists
have been censored by our government. Their reports
edited by Bush appointees who now work for some of
Americas biggest oil companies. We have been deceived by
the very people responsible for our well-being.
Fortunately, the veil has been lifted and many Americans
are now demanding that action be taken on climate change
and other environmental issues. Indeed many states are
now confronting our federal government on the topic.
However, so far all legislative attempts to solve the
problem have failed or have lacked the necessary backbone
to accomplish anything meaningful. The time for change
has to be now. We no longer have the luxury of passing
our problems off to the next generation. We must be
vigilant in our determination to create change and find
solutions to what is arguably the greatest threat humanity
has ever faced. It is the people in this courtroom, the
citizens of this country, this state and this country that
must carry the responsibility for creating change. For if
we can’t change our own lives how can we expect others to
I’m ready and willing to change so that I can help find
real solutions to our problems. I’m ready to help find
methods that aren’t limited to rhetoric. Doomed to
failure by symbolism or rendered meaningless by
corruption. I choose to take a new direction because not
only is a new path sorely needed in my own life, but a new
direction is sorely needed by our country. I recognize
that if I’m not helping to create that change, I’m just
standing in the way. We are all in this together whether
we are labeled radical, conservative or liberal. And
together is the only way we are going to solve this
It is easy for me to say these things. I doubt that my
commitment to the environment or social change has ever
been questioned. However, I am sure the court as well as
many others, question whether or not I have truly left my
militant past behind. To which all I can say is that I
am ready to live my life. I’m ready to put the needs of
my family first. And I’m also ready to find success
where thus far radical struggle has failed. More than
anything, I am just ready to move on.”
To which Judge J.A. Billings responded that he has been a
lawyer and a judge for 35 years and he has never received
a statement from a defendant of such high quality. “I’m
very impressed with you. I have no hesitation in
accepting this sentence. I wish you only the best.”
2/28/08 Statement of Jeffrey Luers After Sentencing Hearing
Today I feel a great weight lifted off of me, and my loved
ones. While I believe my new sentence is still more of a
reflection of my activism and my dissent than my actual
crimes; I am looking forward to my much closer release
I continue to stand by my actions and have no regrets
about my choices. These last several years in prison have
not deterred me from speaking my mind, following my heart
or standing up against oppression and injustice.
I am proud of the many things I have accomplished while
incarcerated, including reaching beyond oceans and borders
to help raise awareness about global warming and to help
combat social injustice.
I am thankful to my family, friends and the thousands of
supporters and fellow activists from around the world who
have stood by me since day one. And I’d especially like to
thank my attorneys, and friends. Lauren Regan, Misha
Dunlap and Shawn Wiley for never giving up on getting me
out sooner than 22 years.
I am happy to say this journey is almost over and I’ll be
coming home soon.
Friends of Jeffrey Free Luers
Donate to Jeff's Legal Defense Fund
How to Help:
Urgent ELP! Bulletin (28th of February 2008)
ELP has three lots of news for you today:
1) New Canadian Animal Rights Prisoner
2) Antifa prisoner Maksim Gubskiy has been released
3) Update on American prisoners Laura and Kevin
1) ELP has just learnt that the Canadian animal rights activist, Gabriel Villeneuve, has been arrested & remanded accused of breaching probation conditions by allegedly attending a protest (he was not at the protest!). The exact charges against him are as yet unknown but please send letters of support to:
Gabriel Villeneuve #HUL03299801
500, de la Faune
Case Postale 87130
Please Note: Gabriel is not allowed to receive anything other than letters and pictures. If you would like to e-mail a message of support, please send your e-mail to email@example.com The e-mails will be printed onto paper and then sent onto him. (Please remember no prisoner has access to e-mail, so if you'd like a reply please include your postal address!)
2) Yesterday, 27th of February 2008, Belarussian antifa prisoner, Maksim Gubskiy, was released on parole. His co-defendant Vlad Plyashkevich was released three weeks ago. They were jailed after getting into a fight with some Neo-Nazis and following the fight the Neo-Nazis went to the police. In a message the Belarussian anti-fascists want to thank everyone who supported Maksim and Vlad and gave them moral and material support!
3) ELP has just received the following e-mail from supporters of the American prisoners Laura and Kevin......
Kevin and Laura had a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2008. The
morning session started at about 9am and they were the last case called
(after 12pm). Before the case was called, there was some discussion
between Laura's PD (public defender) and the DA, and also between Kevin's
PD (public defender) and the DA. When the case was called, Kevin and Laura
came out and were visible to the audience sitting next to each other in
the front. The defense and DA agreed to continue the hearing (meaning to
reschedule it) to a later date, March 13. Both Kevin and Laura looked well
and were allowed to wave at the attendees on their way out. According to
Laura, there is a possible plea pending, but more on that after the next
pretrial hearing on March 13.
I visited Laura today, Wednesday, and she said that she is receiving a lot
of mail and books! In fact she has too many books and has asked people to
stop sending books (she is only allowed three per month!) She thanks
everyone for the support. The last time I spoke with Kevin, he also had
received some mail which was greatly appreciated. He has moved facilities
again, so the contact addresses below should work for whereever he is.
They both have limited ability to call and can call landlines much easier
than cell phones. If you would like a call, put your phone number in the
letter. Also remember to put your address in the letter in case they
aren't given the envelope.
The updated contact info for each: (please misspell Laura's name as shown)
Maura Michlle Lungarlli, booking # 1167062
Century Regional Detention Facility (CRDF)
11705 South Alameda Street
Lynwood, CA 90262, USA
Kevin Olliff, booking #1167029
P.O. Box #86164
Los Angeles, CA 90086-0164, USA
Earth Liberation Prisoners Support Network
BM Box 2407
YES! Jeff Luers could be out next year!
Just posted at www.registerguard.com (Eugene daily newspaper):
Arsonist’s sentence cut in half
By Rebecca Taylor
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Environmental activist Jeffrey Michael Luers will be released from prison
after serving half of his original 22-year sentence under an a agreement
approved Thursday by Lane County Circuit Judge Jack Billings. With credit
for time served, Luers, 29, could be released in December 2009, or earlier
if he qualifies for a 6-month boot camp program, his attorneys said. The
new sentence comes a year after the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled Luers
was improperly sentenced to back-to-back prison terms for burning three
SUVs at the former Romania truck lot and for trying to set fire to the
Tyree Oil Co. in Eugene in 2000.
Read more in Friday’s Register-Guard.
We can finally share an official resentencing hearing date with you. Jeff's
resentencing will take place Thursday, February 28th at 9am Lane County
Circuit Court in Eugene. Of course we are all very hopeful for a positive
An announcement will be sent out on this listserve as soon as possible
with the details. (If you were forwarded this message, you can join the
listserve here: http://lists.riseup.net/www/info/freejeffluers)
Thank you all for your continued support! We are so grateful.
To donate to Jeff's legal debt:
Friends of Jeffrey Free Luers
PO Box 3, Eugene, OR 97440
To donate to Jeff's legal costs, go to http://www.freefreenow.org/donate.html
Attack on the Goethe Institute of Montevideo
On the morning of February 27, 2008, there was an attack on the Goethe Institute of Montevideo, an organization connected to the German state, resulting in all of its windows being totally destroyed. This attack represents a show of support and solidarity with the hunger strike that is taking place from February 18 to 29 by insurgent and anarchist prisoners in diverse countries of the world, between Germany, Spain, Switzerland and Argentina.
This hunger strike involves a mobilization against prisons and repression, the isolation regimes, torture and perpetual imprisonment, and for the freedom of all sick prisoners. Those behind this initiative of struggle are the anarchist prisoners Marco Camenish (Switzerland), Rafa Martinez Zea "Jon Bala" (Puerto III, Spain), Joaquin Garces (CP Castellon, Spain), Gabriel Pombo "Musta" and Jose Fernandez (Germany), Petrissans (Argentina) and Thomas Meyer Falk (Germany).
Solidarity with the prisoners in struggle in every part of the world. Down with the walls of the prisons.
Legacy of Torture: The War Against The Black Liberation Movement
Eight former Black Panthers were arrested on January 23rd, 2007 in California, New York and Florida on charges related to the 1971 killing of a San Francisco police officer. Similar charges were thrown out back in 1975 after it was determined that the evidence used to indict the men was extracted by police torture. Two of the men have been held as political prisoners for the past thirty years in New York state prisons, but the other six have been living regular lives, working and raising families. These men have become known as the “San Francisco 8”—or SF8. There arrests are part of an ugly history of brutal government repression against civil rights activists. The struggle to gain these men's freedom is growing but it will require much more public support. In a manner similar to the campaign waged in 1971-1972 to free Angela Davis and the ongoing campaign to free Mumia Abu Jamal, this campaign must become widespread and international.
Join us for a showing of the Freedom Archives film Legacy of Torture: The War Against The Black Liberation Movement followed by presentations about the case with filmmaker Claude Marks of the Freedom Archives, Hank Jones of the SF8 (recently released on bail), and Mayisha Quint of the Bay Area Committee to Free the San Francisco 8.
Wednesday, March 5th, 6:30pm, Room 175, Knight Law Center, University of Oregon
Thursday, March 6th, 3:00pm, Building 17,The Forum, Room 308/309, at Lane Community College
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Briana Waters Trial notes Monday Feb. 25th 9 AM till 2pm
Summary Notes from the morning and a little of the afternoon of Monday.
Tomorrow, (Wednesday) should be a very interesting day. Briana may testify
this afternoon, and all are encouraged to show up to support her. The
trial is drawing to a close, and the next couple days are very important.
Yesterday morning began with the finish of the cross examination of
Special Agent Halla by Mr. Fox. Halla confirmed that Jen Kolar had said on
their trip to Olympia that she never remembered Briaana and Lacey
together. He then interpreted this to mean that as he understood it, Kolar
didn't recall Briana and Lacey "being close friends" . Fox brought up that
the tape with which Jen Kolar (JK) had recorded their conversation for her
lawyer could be useful in determining exactly what was said.
Then they talked about the phone number that JK called twice right after
being contacted by FBI agent Quimby. It was determined, through a
stipulation, that the number she called was not "Planet Hemp" During her
testimony, Kolar explained calling "Planet Hemp" because she was going to
buy shoes, (" I was just trying to keep my head together"). In fact, the
Google listing for that number was wrong, and it was shown that in 2005
the number belonged to HLS International Tours, a travel agent.
They talked about Joe Dibee's first mtg with the US Attorney, where they
told him details they thought they knew, in order to show him they were
not bluffing and to elicite his cooperation. After he left his movements
were not tracked.
It was also shown how there was no surveillance on Lacey Phillabaum, no
listening devices or wiretaps to see who she was talking to. Agent Halla
said that wiretaps were not actually used very much, that they were hard
Was he aware that Stan Meyerhoff and Lacey (LP) talked on the phone after
Stan's arrest on Dec. 7th? Probably, don't know for sure.
Agent Halla's 302 of the Feb. 21st interview of Lacey Phillabaum says that
Lacey said "slept in the bus that night" referring to Saturday night. Also
states that "B.W. and Justin Solondz had just broken up" Agent Halla
cannot or will not remember the context of how she meant "slept in the bus
Agent Halla went in front of the Grand Jury on march 16th to indict Briana
Waters, but it was never mentioned how JK "remembered" her.
Halla also testified that in the course of this investigation no wiretaps
There is a forensic lab the FBI operates that can test a car for
metallurgical damage, such as after any minor accident, but Halla said
they had determined that it was not important.
Then they talked about the raid of Justin Solondz's cabin. (in 2007?) An
exhibit photo was shown that showed a variety of anarchist literature
displayed (with Anarchy magazine on top) . Halla admitted that the
literature was arranged for display and photos by the FBI, and had not
been found that way in the cabin. He also acknowledged there was a lot of
other material in the cabin, and Fox offered as evidence a copy of the
Iliad, by Homer, and an article entitled Fate of the Earth by a Dominican
D: So you took out anarchist materials and showed them to the jury! H: We
showed what we thought was relevant.
D: So you didn't think anything non-Anarchist was relevant.
A group house at 135 Percival St. was brought up, and how it was
investigated that there were calls to that phone both from Madelene
Waters, and also Bill Rogers. Halla explained that they knew the phone was
in the name of Theresa Howell, and there were 4-6 people living there.
Halla testified they had had difficulties finding Briana Waters, but then
Fox called him on it, that she was living under her own name, and had
Halla compare it to Bill Rogers, who was "very difficult to find" and took
a little over a year, compared to 1 month for Briana.
It was determined that in the search of Bill Rogers' home, only one
mention appears anywhere of Briana, and that is a reference in an academic
article to her film.
Finally, they went over the time required to get from Olympia to the
Center for Urban Horticulture, to stash the bags of fuel as LP testified,
and then to drive to the Greenlake Bar and Grill. Determined it could take
2- 2.5 hours. Then Fox brought up Briana's credit card statement, and that
it recorded a purchase at Ralph's Thriftway on the 20th, but with no exact
time given. Halla explained he had tried to get the exact time from
Ralph's through their records, but their system had changed and the data
tape he was given had been corrupt. Fox then produced a register record
that showed a purchase for the same amount at 7:12 pm on the 20th. Halla:
I am a little perturbed I didn't find these records...
Then, the Prosecution rested, and the Defense made a motion to dismiss the
case based on lack of evidence. First, to dismiss the conspiracy count
because the gov't failed to prove any part of the conspiracy alleged, and
second, to dismiss the other charges due to lack of evidence, and also due
to the tainting of the jury. Specifically, exhibits 402 and 612, the
anarchist articles where Bartlett picked out and highlighted sections
presented such prejudice, and their inflammatory nature was so great that
there was no recourse but to dismiss. Of course this judge refused to
consider anything differently once he had ruled on it, and the day moved
into the Defense's first witness, Special Agent Torres from the FBI. Not
much of substance came out before lunch, and his testimony can be found in
the next post.
After lunch, the defense brought 2 witnesses out of turn. First was Haila
Silvertrees, Ocean's mom. She first met Briana when she was staying in
Olympia at a hotel, and Briana offered her room when she was going out of
town for a couple days. She then explained how they bought the house in
beginning of April of 2001, and that it wasn't livable for a long time
while it was being renovated. There was no running water in the back
building. Ocean moved in in the summer of '01, so if someone had seen him
there, it would have to have been in the Summer or later.
Next to be called was Lavern Troxel, a retired airline stewardess who now
lives on a farm in Randle, WA and raises horses.
She tells the jury about the terrible history of Plum Creek Timber in
Randle, with major landslides that trapped the town for a long time. Talks
about Watch Mt. that sits above Randle. How Sierra Club was approached for
land swap between the Forest Service and Plum Creek, and then Slade Gorton
put a rider onto an omnibus bill to speed it along. "We heard nothing of
it in the town, b/c it was legislated and our voices were never heard, but
young people (from TESC) came and told us what was going on." Young people
put up tree platforms, remember: Randle is a logging town and
"treehuggers" are an endangered species. Young people were so respectful
that town did total about face... its almost unheard of for there to be
agreement between treehuggers and townspeople. Logging would have caused
landslide, soil experts testified to this. You had loggers and treehuggers
sitting around the campfire together.. So successful b/c these treehuggers
were so respectful and helpful to town. Briana was filming documentary at
the time. Very diplomatic and helpful... no violence in this thing. Young
people so diplomatic I can't believe that someone like this would do an
about face and do something so out of character. I think I'm a very good
judge of character and it just doesn't follow.
D: What was the outcome?
L: Watch Mt. is still forest service land, we still have our trees.
P (Bartlett): Good morning . Do you recognize this man? (William Rogers)
L: Don't think so.
P: His resume listed himself as a consultant.
L: There were some people who were just passing through...
P: Are you aware that Briana was interviewed by the NYT? By Robert
Sullivan. At the end of a talk w/ Craig Rosebraugh, Ms. Waters was
interviewed (reads portion) in 1998 talk was sponsored by EARN. I asked
members if they support mink releases and arsons, and Briana said "as long
as people don't get hurt"
L: The sentence is unclear whether she is referring to mink releases of
P: Isn't it clear that she is referring to arsons.
L: No. Because if someone tried to release my horses, I would try to stop
them and I might get hurt. This is a good sentence for your case, but its
P: Does this affect your opinion of BW?
L: No- Theres a big difference between action and talk. I saw BW in action
and her action was above reproach.. We all say things in the spur of the
moment, like people who say "Kill the Umpire!" at a baseball game, but I
don't think they're killers!
P: You said "above reproach"
Gov't exhibit 1102
Defense: What is the P focusing on?
P: I want to point out the "above reproach" . I'll point out something
that might make her reconsider.
From website (supportbriana.org) "100000 pages of discovery" need help, we
have a mountain to climb... this is FRAUD! Her 2 attorneys are appointed
by the court! She's trying to ask for money fraudulently!!
D: I'm quite astonished.
P: It was always A LIE! (shouting)
(jurors come back in)
P:Are you aware that BW has a website?
P: Could you look at page 3?
P: 3rd paragraph, "BW has found 2 great attorneys... . Mountain to climb"
Do you see these words? Would it change your opinion if you knew that Mr.
Fox was court appointed? Wouldn't you read it as if BW was asking for
L: No, these things cost money... she's a working person and these things
cost money. I think you're grasping at straws.
Defendant in UW ecoterror trial takes stand, denies involvement
By GENE JOHNSON
AP Legal Affairs Writer
A 32-year-old violin teacher accused of serving as a lookout while her
friends planted a devastating fire bomb at the University of Washington in
2001 took the stand in her own defense Wednesday, telling jurors she had
no part in the crime and never believed in setting fires to make political
"It's very dangerous to human lives," Briana Waters, of Oakland, Calif.,
testified in U.S. District Court. "I've always been someone who feels very
strongly about not hurting people in any way."
Waters was one of five people indicted in the arson at the university's
Center for Urban Horticulture, and she faces a minimum of 35 years in
prison if convicted of conspiracy, possessing an unregistered destructive
device, arson and use of a destructive device during a crime of violence.
The fire was one of the most notorious in a string of arsons perpetrated
by Eugene, Ore.- and Olympia-based members of the Earth Liberation Front,
a loosely organized collection of radical environmentalists, from the
mid-1990s to 2001. Eventually, more than a dozen people were indicted
following a nine-year investigation into arsons around the West.
No one was hurt in the UW arson, but the center was destroyed and rebuilt
at a cost of $7 million. It was targeted because the ELF activists
mistakenly believed researchers there were genetically engineering poplar
Two defendants, Lacey Phillabaum and Jennifer Kolar, have pleaded guilty.
They testified against Waters earlier in the trial. The other two alleged
participants were William "Avalon" Rodgers, who committed suicide in jail,
and Waters' then-boyfriend, Justin Solondz, who remains at large.
Phone records, rental car records and testimony indicate Waters was in
contact with at least some of the others around the time of the fire, and
that she obtained a rental car used in the crime.
Waters has been staying in a Tacoma rental home during the trial. Wearing
gold-framed glasses and with her long blond hair pulled back, she
testified in a soft, firm voice, frequently mentioning the young daughter
she will rarely see if convicted.
Waters' lawyers, Neil Fox and Robert Bloom, insist that prosecutors have
overreached by threatening draconian sentences to persuade those charged
in the UW fire and other arsons to plead guilty or testify falsely. Waters
is the only one of more than a dozen activists charged who declined to
plead guilty, instead taking her chances before a jury.
"She was part of a conspiracy in which millions of dollars of damage was
done," U.S. Attorney Jeff Sullivan said after court let out for the day.
"That's why it's a serious crime and has serious penalties."
Bloom suggested that the government's only evidence in the case is the
testimony of Kolar and Phillabaum, who are expected to receive more
lenient sentences in exchange for their cooperation. Waters claimed on the
stand that the two are trying to frame her: Phillabaum because she too had
a relationship with Solondz, and Kolar because Waters spurned her sexual
Phillabaum and Kolar denied those allegations earlier in the trial, and
while cross examining Waters, First Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Bartlett
noted that Phillabaum told federal investigators that Waters had obtained
a rental car from a relative for use in the arson.
The records of Budget Rental Car in Olympia later corroborated
Phillabaum's account: Waters' cousin had rented a vehicle the weekend of
the university fire, and he testified that Waters used it. Soon after, a
$200 cash deposit appeared in his bank account _ the only cash deposit he
made all year, money to reimburse him for the rental car's cost, in the
In his questioning, Bartlett suggested that to believe Waters was not
involved, jurors would have to believe that Phillabaum made a "lucky
guess" when she told investigators a story supported by rental car
"I don't know how that would have happened," Waters responded.
Bartlett also pointed to a 1998 New York Times Magazine article about
radical environmentalists which quotes Waters, then a senior at The
Evergreen State University in Olympia, as saying she "totally" supported
arsons "as long as people don't get hurt." Tiffany Tudder, a fellow
student at the time, testified that she remembered Waters making that
Waters said she could not remember whether she said it or not, but added
that she would be surprised if she did, because she has always opposed
politically motivated arsons.
The defense rested its case Wednesday. Closing arguments were expected by
the end of the week.
Notes from February 25, beg. approx. 2:00pm, and from all day February 26,
Defense counsel Bob Bloom opened its case by calling FBI Special Agent
Torres, then took a couple witnesses out of order, then resumed
examination of Torres. (See other note taker’s notes.)
Torres admitted that he did not draft his “302” interview report of his
December 16, 2005 interview with Jen Kolar on the date indicated (Dec.
18), but rather, began drafting it then and did not finish it until
February 9. He testified that the 302 went through a number of drafts
before Agent Halla, who was also present for the interview, prepared the
final 302. The defense maintains that the FBI has faked its 302, and in
fact destroyed the original draft because it would have reflected that
Kolar did not name Briana. Torres and Halla also took handwritten notes
during the interview, but their notes are discrepant. Whereas Torres
specifically recorded in his notes that Kolar listed herself and four
other people, and not Briana (and later reaffirmed that these were the
five people involved), Halla’s notes were much more vague. However, the
typed 302, completed nearly two months later – after the feds had fixed on
Briana as a suspect –falsely states that Kolar named herself, Avalon, “and
few others.” Thus, it appears the agents deliberately injected vagueness
into their 302, in order to try to preserve their false case against
Torres bobbed and weaved, trying to claim that Kolar was vague and
uncertain during her interview. However, he acknowledged that in several
places in her notes, he wrote “uncertain” where she indicated she was
uncertain. On the other hand, he had no explanation for why he failed to
write “uncertain” where he was now claiming at trial that she had been
uncertain, such as who participated in the arson. Torres also testified
inconsistently about whether he had any independent memory of the
interviews or not, claiming often that he did not, but then asserting
repeatedly that he remembered Kolar was unsure about certain
identifications. At another point, he testified that his notes “are not a
transcript of the interview [but are] used to aid my memory later.”
However, they seemed to provide no aid to his memory whatsoever, as he
repeatedly gave equivocal answers when pressed for details about the
interview, and testified often that he did not recall.
Later (on February 26), Torres testified that he simply stopped taking
notes during one interview of Lacey Phillabaum, in order to avoid the
confusion which occurred during the Kolar interview. Pressed to say admit
that he was the one confused, not Kolar, he had no good answer. It thus
appeared that he realized his notes might undermine the case the feds were
trying to build, so he simply stopped taking notes. Similarly, Torres
testified that the FBI did not record any of its interviews, per its
regular policy, even though he admitted that a tape recording would have
avoided any confusion about the words actually spoken, and that the FBI
has the ability to record such interviews.
Torres testified that he and Agent Halla reported on other subjects by
consensus in their 302s, rather than reporting what actually occurred.
For instance, he testified that while Kolar described the vehicle used
during the arson as either a car or a van, as recorded in his notes, in
the 302 he and Agent Halla simply reported this as a “vehicle”. (The
government has since tried to make a case that Briana rented a car for use
during the arson, so the fact that Kolar had told them it might have been
a van would not have been helpful to the case they were trying to build;
thus, they simply eliminated this reference in their 302.)
(Needless to say, all of this bodes very ill for the integrity or
reliability of the FBI’s processes.)
Continuation of Direct Examination of Special Agent Torres:
Torres testified that he participated in a January 12, 2006 interview of
Kolar (but was not present for a January 6 interview). He testified that
she was shown photographs, including of Briana, and identified it as a
photo of Briana, but still did not state that Briana had participated in
the UW arson. Torres hemmed and hawed about whether he would have written
it down if she had said so, but when pressed, he could not articulate any
reason why he would not have done so.
Torres testified that on February 4, 2006, Halla interviewed Kolar on a
car ride from Olympia to Seattle, while Torres drove them, and Halla
showed Kolar more photographs. He showed her a photo of Justin Solondz,
and she said she did not know him. Torres testified that Kolar told the
agents that Briana and Lacey were not close friends (as the agents
reported in the 302 of this interview). However, Torres was forced to
admit that this too distorted what she had actually said, as recorded in
Halla’s handwritten notes: “I don’t remember Briana and Lacey together.”
Torres admitted that if it were true that Kolar had not seen them
together, then Briana could not have been involved in the arson.
Despite his extremely dodgy and evasive testimony, Torres was forced to
admit that Kolar had never once named Briana as a participant, until March
6, 2006, after the FBI had already fixed on her as a suspect.
Torres acknowledged that Kolar had made a tape recording of her car ride
interview with the agents, at her attorney’s behest, but he claimed that
the FBI does not have, and he has never heard, that tape. When asked to
explain why not, he suggested that it might be subject to attorney client
privilege. But he was forced to eat this absurd excuse and admit that
such a recording, not involving a conversation with an attorney, would not
be privileged. When asked if he would obtain a copy for the defense, he
said “that’s not my job.”
Torres testified that Briana had arranged a meeting among the participants
on the Evergreen campus, in a room accessible to the public, and claimed
that this constituted participation in the arson. (He was not questioned
about what the FBI claims was discussed in this meeting, whether it
actually occurred or not, or whether the FBI claims Briana was present.)
Later, a defense witness testified that only present students were
entitled to reserve such rooms, that they would have to identify
themselves and request a key in person, and that records would be kept.
Torres acknowledged that Kolar told the agents she believed Avalon may
have arranged for a rental car for the UW arson. He acknowledged that
Kolar did not say anything to the agents about scraping a parked car while
leaving the scene of the arson, as Phillabaum had testified, and he was
unable to provide any evidence that the Budget car which the government
alleges Briana rented for use during the arson sustained any damage.
Torres testified that he interviewed Lacey Phillabaum, along with Halla,
and prosecutors Friedman and Bartlett, in the presence of Phillabaum’s
attorney, on February 21, 2006. He admitted that while he expected
Phillabaum to make confessions during this interview, the FBI did not
record it, even though the FBI’s regulations provide for such practice.
He testified that in his 11 years, he has never done so. Moreover, he
testified that he simply stopped taking notes in the middle of the
interview (before Phillabaum began admitting her participation in events),
in his words in order to avoid the “confusion” which had resulted from the
discrepancies between his and Halla’s notes from their 12/16/05 interview
of Kolar. Defense counsel suggested that the feds were really just trying
to preserve their ability to manipulate evidence and testimony, and limit
impeachment, and this is the picture that emerged.
Torres testified that Phillabaum informed the feds that Briana and Connor
(i.e. Solondz) had broken up, but could not say whether the feds asked her
this, or whether she volunteered this information. He said Phillabaum
informed them that Chelsea Gerlach was competitive with her related to the
fact that Gerlach had previously been involved with Stan Meyerhoff.
He testified that Phillabaum told them that both Briana and Solondz acted
as lookouts during the UW arson, in contrast with the government’s
allegation that Briana alone acted as a lookout.
He testified that Phillabaum told them while crouching outside the
Horticulture Center, she was concerned about the presence of a bicycle,
and discussed this concern on-scene with Kolar. This highlights a
significant discrepancy in the accounts of the two informants, as Kolar
testified that she did not even see Phillabaum there.
Torres acknowledged that in all the searches of the various defendants’
property, the only thing they found which even referenced Briana was a
footnote in a document referencing her documentary Watch, about the
campaign to prevent clearcutting on Watch Mountain.
On cross examination of SA Torres by AUSA Bartlett, Bartlett had him read
the verbatim “proffer agreement” from the February 21, 2006 interview with
Phillabaum, containing various terms. The purpose of this was unclear.
On cross, Torres also testified that before Kolar named Briana, her
attorney, Mr. Martin, had called AUSA Friedman and told him that his
client, Kolar, now suddenly remembered that Briana was involved in the
The defense spent the remainder of the day calling a series of witnesses
who know Briana Waters personally, and who testified to her good character
and peaceful nature. These witnesses included an eloquent, native
American man whom she interviewed for her documentary, who said that he
found Briana to be so trustworthy and of such integrity that he introduced
her to several tribal elders, which was a very big deal. He testified
that in extensive discussions, he and Briana agreed that peace could only
be achieved through peaceful means. Two people testified passionately
that Briana baby sat their children, and they trusted her completely with
the lives of their children, and that they also developed good friendships
with Briana. People testified to her skills as a violinist. The gent who
helped her edit Watch testified that they worked extensively together on
the project. A woman from whom Briana sublet a room in Berkeley testified
that she found Briana to be so warm and such a good peacemaker and problem
solver, and that they became close friends. Briana’s Evergreen professor
and supervisor of her independent film project testified that Briana was
among her brightest students of all time, and extremely pleasant to
supervise and work with. Together, these witnesses provided a portrait of
an extremely intelligent, warm, trustworthy, and peace-loving woman, who
was busy with many things, not least working on her film, not planning or
committing an arson, in the time period leading up to it.
The government declined to cross-examine most of these witnesses, but did
fence about Earth First! values with a man who participated in
environmental organizing with Briana. He testified that Earth First! is
not top down, is not a group, and that people interpret for themselves
what it means to organize as an Earth First!er. When questioned whether
Earth First! is radical organization, as it claims in some literature, he
explained again that Earth First! is not a monolith. He then testified
that he considered his and Briana’s tactics radical, but not extreme –
radical in that they were able to unite historically polarized camps, i.e.
environmentalists and timber industry workers, and achieved real success.
Questioned about monkey-wrenching, he said that he and Briana disavowed it
in their campaign.
The woman who owned the house and garage, with her then husband Ocean,
where the government claims the UW arson conspirators created their “clean
room” to assemble the materials used for the arson, testified that she
allowed Briana, her friend, to stay in the garage, free of charge. She
testified that she and Ocean did not move into the house right away, but
rather, began major renovations to make it accessible for Ocean, who is
confined to a wheelchair. She testified that during this construction,
involving, she estimated, 10-15 workers over time, she would visit
regularly, and unannounced, to check on the progress of work. She said
that she never observed anything untoward occurring there while Briana was
living there, and certainly never observed anything that looked like a
clean room. She testified that the garage was full of debris and that
water leaked through the roof, and that the walls were rotting. On cross,
she admitted having informed the prosecutor during an interview that she
rarely visited the garage when she visited, and therefore, would not have
known if Justin Solondz was living there too, but that he was not invited
to live there. On re-direct, she reaffirmed that she did not announce her
A woman testified that she participated in a two-day meeting with Briana
in Portland, during the first week of February 2001 (probably Feb. 3 and
4), in which she unequivocally remembers that Lacey was also present – in
contradiction to Lacey’s testimony that she first met Briana much later.
Throughout the afternoon, prosecutors objected repeatedly, on fallacious
grounds (most commonly that the questions were argumentative, or that the
questions, or witnesses, were cumulative), interrupting and disrupting the
defense examination. This spawned various hearings outside the presence
of the jury, and a certain amount of tension with the Judge, who often
seemed not to understand exactly what was happening. The Judge would
often repeat the prosecutor’s baseless objections back to the defense. At
times, the colloquies seemed surreal. Defense counsel pleaded for leeway
to put on its case unimpeded, as the government had been allowed to do –
including especially in order to counteract all the character
assassination which the Judge had allowed the government to inject against
Briana earlier in the trial – and made major headway as a result. Court
adjourned with the Judge taking under advisement the defense’s request to
introduce and play for the Jury Ms. Waters’ hour long documentary, Watch.
After never mouthing an objection to the film, throughout the entire case,
and after acquiescing in front of the jury, the government suddenly
reversed itself and objected during the break. The Judge will likely
decide this issue first thing in the morning.