Feldman and DeMuth Jailed for Contempt; DeMuth Now Charged Under AETA
The federal government's Green Scare campaign took another depressing turn Tuesday morning as a federal district judge in Iowa ordered the detainment of Twin Cities activists Scott DeMuth and Carrie Feldman at a contempt hearing. As previously reported, DeMuth and Feldman were subpoenaed to a grand jury in Davenport, Iowa, compelling them to testify regarding a animal rights-related vandalism incident at the University of Iowa.
Feldman and Scott spoke to the local press and 30 to 40 supporters at a rally beforehand in Davenport, then refused to testify. At the contempt hearing, the judge offered both immunity, but they still refused to talk, and were taken away. The judge believes they will remain in jail until they comply or the jury ends (likely in 11 months).
Related: Feldman Interviewed by Peter Young | New Support Info | Press Release from EWOK!, Statements from Carrie and Scott | Video of Davenport Support Rally | TCDP: Minnesota EWOKs Jailed in Iowa (Photo credit) | Dallas, TX: Grand jury resistance action Previous Coverage: Second subpoena issued | Subpoena PDF | Video: Feldman on Grand Juries & Luce Guillen-Givens on the Green Scare | Local Activist Subpoenaed to Grand Jury in Iowa Also: Bogus Subpoena Against US Indymedia | Feds' Search of G20 Twittering Anarchist Upheld
10am Friday: DeMuth contempt charge was dropped, and he has a bail hearing on the AETA charge at noon today. Also: Listen to EWOK! members on KFAI 90.3fm at 11am or online at KFAI.org.
BREAKING 11:00am Thursday: Quad City Times reports DeMuth has been charged with conspiracy under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA).
According to the Times, DeMuth made his initial appearance on the charge this morning. The Times article quotes the indictment, which it says did not specify the 2004 ALF action at the University of Iowa, although the time frame and county location match:
“Scott Ryan DeMuth did knowingly and intentionally conspire with persons unknown to the grand jury to commit animal enterprise terrorism and cause economic damage to the animal enterprise in an amount exceeding $10,000."
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Hoping to avoid detainment without any semblance of due process, Feldman's father testified at the contempt hearing that Feldman needs to not be incarcerated to care for her grandmother; DeMuth is studying as a PhD candidate. Since the federal prosecutor couldn't get Feldman to answer any questions, they used the opportunity to ask Feldman's father a bunch of odd leading questions. He was asked if Feldman was an anarchist, to which Feldman's public defender objected. The judge overruled the objection. The prosecutor presented a photo showing Feldman wearing something with an obscured "LF" on it and asked if it could mean "ALF" or "ELF." Also the prosecutor insinuated that a pet rat on her shoulder implied she was an animal lover or something — and thus, apparently, complicit in the vandalism?
With DeMuth and Feldman refusing to talk even when the judge granted immunity, it seemed there would be no way for them not to get held in contempt after they indicated through the legal team they would still not comply with the proceedings. About six supporters were in the courtroom. A supporter said it was "cool to see" they were "really solid and unwavering," but the judge found more than substantial reasons to incarcerate them. Their destination jail is being determined now.
Additionally, the authorities' writeup about Feldman's first appearance in Davenport, in October, which was before she was offered immunity, indicated the contempt in which prosecutors hold the Constitution: it says that Feldman invoked her Fifth Amendment "privilege" rather than terming it a "right," much as federal prosecutors have the right to prosecute, for example, billions of dollars in bank fraud but get the privilege of launching fishing expeditions over vandalism cases involving relatively tiny sums of money.
Between the quirks of the language authorities use and the leading questions, the conceptual framework that lets the feds ignore much greater criminal problems in society was in evidence. Supporters rallying at the Minneapolis Federal Courthouse this morning bumped into a retired member of the clergy wearing an orange jumpsuit, carrying a sign about waiting for justice to be served against those who ordered torture from the top of the government. She was a member of the WAMM "Tackle Torture at the Top" project, which locally demonstrated against Condoleezza Rice recently.
TCIMC Editors' Note: A press release is expected soon - watch this post for updates.