Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Scott DeMuth demands discovery - grand jury resister Carrie Feldman awaits appeal

February 23, 2010

Contact: Jude Ortiz, Scott and Carrie Support committee (SCSC)
612-293-9657, scottandcarrie@riseup.net

AETA Indictee Scott DeMuth demands discovery, Grand jury resister Carrie
Feldman awaits re-hearing on appeal in segregation

This morning, over a dozen supporters joined Scott DeMuth in the Federal
Courthouse in Davenport, IA, for an arraignment and hearing on numerous
discovery-related motions. DeMuth is facing allegations of conspiracy
under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, stemming from an investigation
of an Animal Liberation Front action that occurred in November 2004. This
hearing comes on the heels of the transfer of Carrie Feldman, who has been
in custody on civil contempt since November 17, 2009, for refusing to
testify before a grand jury in relation to this case.

In today's hearing, DeMuth's attorney, Michael Deutsch, argued that the
prosecution has failed to produce the discovery that the defense is
entitled to under the rules. Judge Shields took the arguments under
advisement and is expected to issue a ruling within the next few days.

The defense team had also filed a motion to dismiss the original
indictment, arguing that it failed to meet basic requirements for an
indictment. The indictment gave no indication as to what the prosecution
alleges DeMuth actually did, and provided an overly vague time frame for
the alleged crime. In an apparent affirmation of this defense argument, US
Attorney Cliff Cronk filed a superseding indictment last week. The new
indictment, however, appears to be fatally flawed in itself—it still fails
to provide any indication as to what DeMuth is alleged to have done to
conspire under the AETA. Responding to defense motions, the prosecution
backpedaled on an earlier strategy to prosecute Demuth for his
constitutionally-protected free speech and associations: “This case has
nothing to do with political association ... this conspiracy continues as
long as alf [sic] continues to break into labs and free animals,” Cronk
said in open court. Seeing that the statute of limitations has expired for
the Spence Lab break-in specifically, the prosecution appears to now
justify DeMuth’s charges by arguing that the scope of the crime in
question extends to a conspiracy involving unrelated actions across the
country claimed under the banner of the Animal Liberation Front.

Furthermore, Lisa Williams, speaking on behalf of the “Scott and Carrie
Support Committee,” pointed out that “Cronk continues to juggle competing
theories of his own case in the courtroom. One minute, he claims that he
intends to show that Scott participated in the break-in at Spence labs
himself, and the next he claims that, instead, he intends to show that
Scott conspired with others, from another location, and was never in
Johnson County himself. If he had a legitimate foundation for the charge
he is bringing against Scott, he would be telling one story and sticking
to it. Obviously, there is no basis for these allegations.”

Meanwhile, Carrie Feldman was recently transferred from Washington County
Jail—where she was a model inmate—and is currently being held in
segregation in Dubuque County Jail, where her communication with
supporters has been severely curtailed. Feldman has a pending re-hearing
of her appeal, in which her attorneys argue that the use of secret
evidence by the prosecution—evidence to which her defense team was denied
all access—violates her due process rights. They also maintain that the
statute of limitations has expired on the incident in question, making her
detention punitive. Their argument is supported by the dissenting opinion
in the case, in which Judge Bye describes Feldman's detention as an “abuse
of the grand jury process” and recommends her “immediate release from jail

Court documents from both Feldman and DeMuth's cases are available at:

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