Court moves to make public documents in activist's contempt case
The case involves a Minneapolis woman jailed
since November for refusing to testify to a federal grand jury.
By ABBY SIMONS, Star Tribune
Last update: February 25, 2010 - 8:12 PM
A Twin Cities journalist won a partial victory
Thursday in a battle to open the court record
involving a Minneapolis activist jailed in Iowa
for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury.
The U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals granted
a motion on behalf of Sheila Regan of the online
publication Twin Cities Daily Planet to unseal
most records related to a contempt of court case against Carrie Feldman.
However, the appellate court gave federal
prosecutors three weeks to propose which parts of
the record they want redacted. Prosecutors say
some information may need to be withheld to
protect the "secrecy and integrity" of the grand jury process.
Feldman, 20, was jailed in November for refusing
to appear before a grand jury examining a 2004
break-in at a University of Iowa laboratory
targeted by animal rights proponents.
Feldman said she knows nothing about the break-in
and refused to testify because she believes grand
juries are used to abuse power. Under the law,
she could be jailed until October if she maintains her silence.
Her former boyfriend, University of Minnesota
graduate student Scott DeMuth, 22, was charged in
November with conspiracy to commit animal
enterprise terrorism in connection with the
break-in. He was released pending trial.
In Thursday's ruling, Eighth Circuit Judge Kermit
Bye expressed frustration that the government
will get additional time to submit proposed
redactions when Regan's motion to unseal the
record was filed more than a month ago.
"The public's rightful access to the majority of
the records in this appeal has already been delayed by two months," Bye wrote.
Abby Simons • 612-673-4921