FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 12, 2010
Contact: Jude Ortiz, Scott and Carrie Support Committee (SCSC), 612-293-9657, firstname.lastname@example.org
Unprepared Prosecutor Delays Trial for Scott DeMuth, Indicted Under the AETA
Delay Points to the Lack of Evidence Against DeMuth and Political Motivations Behind the Charges
Davenport, IA — This morning at the federal courthouse in Davenport, Scott DeMuth, 22, and his defense team met for what was supposed to be a final pre-trial conference before an early May trial date. Citing the government’s unpreparedness as the primary motivation, Prosecutor Cliff Cronk filed a motion to push back the trial date at least until early June and perhaps until July. Magistrate Judge Thomas Shields approved the continuance to a yet unspecified date. This is despite DeMuth’s earlier request for a continuance to adequately prepare his defense being denied because it was deemed unrealistic. This latest development is part of a larger pattern of the prosecution manipulating the legal system to pursue politically motivated charges against DeMuth, supporters assert.
Prior to the hearing, supporters rallied outside the courthouse for DeMuth’s continued fight against state repression and unwarranted charges. DeMuth and his defense lawyers anticipated arguing several motions that had been filed after DeMuth was re-indicted on February 17, including several to dismiss the case due to vindictive prosecution and the unconstitutional vagueness of the indictment. Instead, these motions were put on hold pending a new trial date. The defense and prosecution were also given an extension until April 29 for submitting evidence, expert witness reports, and other information required for trial.
“Cronk’s delay in moving forward on the trial isn’t surprising since there is absolutely no basis to the charges that Scott is facing,” said Lisa Williams on behalf of the Scott and Carrie Support Committee (SCSC). “It’s been clear from the start that the charges are politically motivated, based on Cronk’s desire to punish Scott for his perceived beliefs rather than because there is a shred of evidence to connect him to the alleged conspiracy.”
Last November, DeMuth was indicted for conspiracy relating to an Animal Liberation Front (ALF) raid at the University of Iowa in 2004. The indictment came after DeMuth was taken into custody for civil contempt for he refused to testify before a federal grand jury in Davenport. Carrie Feldman, 20, of Minneapolis was also taken into custody on civil contempt for refusing to testify before the grand jury and spent four months in jail. She was released on March 18. Three days before her release, a well-known activist house in Salt Lake City, UT, was raided by the FBI under a warrant issued by Chief Magistrate Judge Thomas Shields of the United States District Court, Southern District of Iowa. The recent raid further indicates that the far-reaching investigation into the 2004 ALF raid is ongoing.
Court documents from both Feldman’s and DeMuth’s cases are available at: https://davenportgrandjury.wordpress.com/resources/