FBI closes investigation into 2004 ALF raid in Iowa

From Voice of the Voiceless:

Investigation into the Animal Liberation Front raid of UI labs ends with no one caught

Six years, over 200 FBI interviews, and several house raids and jail terms later, the FBI has officially closed the investigation into the 2004 Animal Liberation Front raid of the University of Iowa – without a conviction.

To put it another way: the A.L.F. pulled off one of the largest lab raids in U.S. history – and got away with it.

In an article this week, the Associated Press put it this way:

“Despite an extensive FBI investigation, it is increasingly unlikely anyone will be prosecuted for a 2004 break-in at a University of Iowa lab where activists released hundreds of animals and destroyed years of research”

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Documenting the surge in government repression against the Animal and Earth Liberation Movements

A roundup of recent FBI visits, subpoenas, and other government assaults on the animal liberation movement in August:

From Voice of the Voiceless

New AETA 4 DNA warrant

This week, Joseph Buddenberg of the AETA 4 was the target of a warrant for his DNA. A quote from the agent who authored the affidavit:

“I believe probable cause exists that Buddenberg was involved in the February 24, 2008 altercation at the L.H./J.R. residence in Santa Cruz…. The samples from the bullhorn found in Khajavi’s vehicle will yield evidence that Buddenberg was involved in force, violence, and threats involving animal enterprises, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 43 & 371”

Read the full affidavit here.

Buddenberg submitted himself to FBI agents this week, who took four swabs of DNA.

While the AETA 4 indictment was recently thrown out, this recent government offensive indicates the case is not yet over. The case , if continued, stands to be a precedent-setting Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act case with implications for all activists.
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Scott DeMuth Pre-Trial Update and Carrie Feldman subpoenaed for Scott’s trial!

Scott and CarrieA relatively uneventful day in court on Monday for Scott DeMuth was followed by an unexpected subpoena for former grand jury resister Carrie Feldman.

During pre-trial hearings for Scott held at the federal courthouse, lawyers discussed pending motions in need of resolution before trial. There were no oral arguments or decisions by the court. There will be a suppression hearing before the trial to determine whether evidence seized in a raid on Scott’s house prior to the 2008 Republican National Convention can be legally used at the trial. This hearing is scheduled for the morning of Monday, September 13. Prosecutor Cliff Cronk has indicated that he will appeal the decision of the courts if they suppress that evidence, likely postponing the trial until that issue is resolved. For the time being, though, trial is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, September 14 at 9 am.

Cronk also indicated that he intends to call up to sixty witnesses at trial. Many of these witnesses could be cut if the defense is willing to stipulate to various facts of the case. Cronk also said that he expects the trial to take around three weeks, three times as long as we had been expecting.
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Carrie Feldman RELEASED!

carrieAfter four months, Minneapolis activist released from Iowa jail

Carrie Feldman, 20, was jailed in November for refusing to testify about a 2004 break-in at the University of Iowa

By ABBY SIMONS, Star Tribune

Last update: March 18, 2010 – 4:56 PM

An animal rights activist jailed four months for refusing to testify about a break-in at a University of Iowa laboratory has been released.

A judge in Davenport, Iowa, signed an order Thursday to release Carrie Feldman after the U.S. Attorney for that region informed the court that her grand jury testimony was “no longer necessary to the public interest” and asked that she no longer be held in civil contempt of court, said her attorney, Jordan Kushner.

No further explanation was given for Feldman’s release. Friends and family members were expected to pick her up Thursday.

A call to U.S. Attorney Clifford Cronk in Davenport was not immediately returned.

Feldman, 20, of Minneapolis, was jailed in Iowa on Nov. 17 for refusing to appear before a grand jury that was looking into the November 2004 break-in. The Animal Liberation Front released video of themselves entering the lab, taking hundreds of rats and mice, smashing computers and dumping chemicals. Damages totaled $450,000.

Five years later, authorities subpoenaed Feldman and her former boyfriend, Scott DeMuth, 22, also of Minneapolis. Both were jailed for refusing to testify, and a grand jury later indicted DeMuth for animal enterprise terrorism. Feldman, who was 15 at the time of the break-in, said she knows nothing about what happened. DeMuth says he’s innocent.

Judges denied two appeals for Feldman’s release before Cronk’s office asked that she be released.

“My belief is this is the end of this particular matter for her,” said Feldman’s attorney, Bruce Nestor.

On Monday, FBI agents raided a Salt Lake City, Utah, house where some animal rights activists were purported to live. The agents were acting on a search warrant issued in the same southern district of Iowa where Feldman was held and DeMuth was charged. The warrant authorized a search for computers, photographs, cell phones and documents “relating to animal enterprise terrorism.”

Kushner said it’s unclear whether information gathered in that search led to Feldman’s release.

Carrie out of segregation; mail update

Carrie’s out of segregation, which is good news! She’s now in a pod with 4 other people, and has regular access to a phone.

She also reports that she’s been getting a lot of mail denied for various reasons, particularly because of the name in the letter not matching the return address on the envelope. Make sure that you put your full name and return address on the envelope when you write to her, and that it matches. We’ll let everyone know more details about mail regulations when we find out more.

Thanks for all the support, y’all!

In solidarity,

the SCSC

Partial victory re: Carrie’s court docket, Denial on petition for re-hearing and Scott’s motions

from Scott & Carrie’s support

In this update:
1. Court orders Carrie’s court docket unsealed with redactions, denies petition for re-hearing
2. Scott’s motions denied (mostly)
3. Update on Carrie’s custody status
4. Donations, please!
5. Feb. 28-March 2: Events with Dhoruba Bin-Wahad
6. March 19: Come dine with us!
7. Call-out for Local Minneapolis Artists! Seeking donations for Scott, Carrie and Eric McDavid benefit

1. Court orders Carrie’s court docket unsealed with redactions, denies petition for re-hearing

In a partial victory for reporter Sheila Regan, Carrie and the SCSC, the court has ordered Carrie’s court docket unsealed but has given the government 21 days to propose redactions to the unsealed documents. See Regan’s article, here, for more information on the ruling.

Along with this bit of good news, however, comes a big disappointment: Carrie’s petition for a re-hearing has been denied. She and her attorneys are currently discussing next legal steps.

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Scott’s Hearing Held Today, Carrie Still in Segregation

This morning, over a dozen supporters from Minneapolis and the Quad Cities joined Scott in the Federal Courthouse in Davenport for his arraignment for the new indictment that was issued last week. There was also a hearing on numerous discovery-related motions for his upcoming trial. Scott’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.

As we’ve shared with you before, Scott’s defense team filed a motion to dismiss the original indictment, arguing that it failed to meet the basic requirements for an indictment. The indictment gave no indication as to what the prosecution alleges Scott 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 Scott is alleged to have done to conspire under the AETA.

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Grand Jury Resister Carrie Feldman Moved to Dubuque, Being Held in 23 Hour Isolation

Carrie Feldman, 20 year old anarchist refusing to cooperate with a Grand Jury targeting Midwest animal rights direct action,  has been moved yet again.  Her support team thinks that this should be where she stays at least for awhile.

Right now she is in segregation at this jail for an unknown amount of time, on 23-hour lockdown, and she is no longer allowed visits from anyone other than immediate family. It is going to be especially important for people to write her now, as this may be her only contact with the majority of the outside world for a long time. Please write to Carrie and encourage others to do the same!

Here is her mailing address there–mail should be getting through now:

Carolyn Feldman
770 Iowa St.
Dubuque, IA 52001

You can send e-letters to davenportgrandjury@riseup.net; and they’ll print them out and send them along.

For more info on her case and mailing regulations visit http://davenportgrandjury.wordpress.com.

Write to Carrie in Muscatine! (new address)

So we’ve confirmed that Carrie is in Muscatine County Jail, but are still unsure as to the exact conditions of her detention there. Though there are probably extra restrictions on her communication with the outside world, we’re asking people to start writing her now!

According to the Muscatine County Jail website, letters should be addressed as follows:

Muscatine County Jail Inmate
c/o Carolyn Feldman
400 Walnut Street
Muscatine, Iowa 52761

The site also says to “make sure that the return address includes a full name and address, otherwise the letter may be returned or held in the inmates property until they are released.”

Please write Carrie! She’s understandably frustrated about the transfer, and letters from the outside will go a long way towards helping her feel supported at this difficult time. We’re not sure if the letters will get through, but this is the best way to find out. Let us know if your letter is returned or if you hear back from her, and we’ll keep y’all posted with updates about her situation.

For background on the case, visit davenportgrandjury dot wordpress dot com.

In solidarity,
the SCSC

Carrie believed to be in Muscatine; superseding (but still shady!) indictment for Scott

Via Scott & Carrie Support Committee:

We have received information that Carrie is in “the disciplinary block”/protective custody at Muscatine County Jail in Muscatine, Iowa, although the jailers are currently refusing to admit that any inmate by her name is at that jail. Nonetheless, we believe that that’s where she is. We will release an update with more information as soon as we get it.

In response to Scott’s motion to dismiss the indictment based on its failure to meet the basic criteria of an indictment, Cronk has filed a superseding indictment. The new indictment (viewable here) provides a possible end date to the conspiracy Scott is accused of having been a part of–August of 2005–and some new language about interstate commerce and communication, but provides little in the way of actually explaining what it is the U.S. is claiming Scott did. The prosecution also filed responses to several of Scott’s pre-trial motions, which are all posted here.  Hopefully, Scott’s hearing on Tuesday will shed some light on whatever crackpot plan Cronk has cooked up.

In solidarity,

the SCSC