11/30/09: Scott DeMuth, Recently Charged Under the AETA, Released Today Pending Trial

November 30, 2009

Contact: Earth Warriors are OK! (EWOK!) hotline (Natalia Shulkin)
612-293-9657, ewok@riseup.net

Scott DeMuth, Recently Charged Under the AETA, Released Today Pending Trial
Supporters Continue to Demand the Release of Grand Jury Resister Carrie Feldman

Davenport, IA — Earlier today, District Court Judge John Jarvey ordered the release of Scott DeMuth, recently indicted for conspiracy under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), pending his trial. The District Court for the Southern District of Iowa had until 4pm today to decide whether to grant an emergency motion filed by the government last Wednesday to keep DeMuth imprisoned until trial. On Tuesday, Chief US Magistrate Judge Thomas Shields ordered DeMuth’s release, but because of objections from the government, Shields placed a temporary stay on his order. In the objection, Federal Prosecutor Cliff Cronk used sensational and inflammatory language to accuse DeMuth of being a “domestic terrorist” and, therefore, a flight risk and danger to society based on his supposed
political beliefs. Supporters expected Cronk’s appeal to be denied since he offered no credible reasons why DeMuth should be held in custody until trial, and a court-ordered psychological evaluation found that he poses no danger to society or risk of fleeing prosecution.

“We’re glad that Judge Jarvey recognizes that political beliefs are not a legitimate reason to detain a defendant awaiting trial,” said Thomas Addo of Earth Warriors are OK! “The federal government attempted to divert attention from the fact that they have little to no evidence with which to prosecute Scott, a serious action that still demands an answer.”

The affirmation of the order to release DeMuth came toward the end of a call-in campaign organized by supporters of DeMuth and Carrie Feldman, both of whom were subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury in Davenport on November 17. The call-in campaign was organized to urge recently appointed US Attorney General Nicholas Klinefeldt to secure Feldman’s release since she has refused to testify before the grand jury due to her deeply held principles. As such, her incarceration is a punishment for standing on her principles rather than an attempt to coerce her into testifying.

Since incarceration for refusing to testify is meant to be coercive instead of punitive, attorneys Jordan Kushner and Bruce Nestor, both from Minneapolis, filed a motion today to secure Feldman’s release. A hearing on the motion has been scheduled for December 8.

DeMuth and Feldman were jailed on November 17th after both of them refused to cooperate with what they called a politically motivated grand jury. Feldman, who was found to be in civil contempt, may be forced to remain in jail for the life of the grand jury, up to 11 more months. DeMuth was indicted November 18th for conspiracy to “commit animal enterprise terrorism and cause economic damage to the animal enterprise in an amount exceeding $10,000” under the AETA. The indictment is related to an Animal Liberation Front (ALF) action at the University of Iowa in 2004, in which research equipment was damaged and hundreds of animals were set free.

Supporters claim that DeMuth and Feldman have become targets of the “Green Scare,” a term used to refer to the Federal government’s campaign to intimidate animal and earth liberation activists. The Green Scare is just one campaign among many that the Federal government uses to repress social movements. Other recent targets of grand juries have included the San Francisco 8 case against former Black Panthers, and the Puerto Rican Independence movement following the FBI assassination of movement leader Filiberto Ojeda Rios in 2005.


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