Scott DeMuth Pleads to Misdemeanor Conspiracy Charge Under Animal Enterprise Protection Act
Plea Entails 6 Months in Prison and Probation but No Fine or Testimony Against Other Activists
Davenport, IA: Earlier today, Scott DeMuth, 23, accepted a plea agreement to a federal misdemeanor charge for conspiracy in relation to the animal release at Lakeside Ferrets in Howard Lake, Minnesota in 2006. DeMuth accepted the plea agreement during his final pre-trial hearing before his trial for a felony conspiracy charge under the Animal Enterprise Protection Act (AEPA) for Animal Liberation Front (ALF) raids at the University of Iowa in 2004 and at Lakeside.
The plea agreement eliminates the University of Iowa raid from the indictment and drops the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor. Under the terms of the agreement, DeMuth will report to a federal prison in January to serve a six-month sentence, to be followed by supervised probation. No fine will be imposed and DeMuth will no longer be on electronic home monitoring. Additionally, DeMuth’s plea does not implicate anyone else in the conspiracy charge and he remains committed to not cooperating with any investigations into other activists working for social justice.
The plea agreement resolves the case against DeMuth, which supporters have maintained has been a vindictive prosecution based on DeMuth’s political associations and beliefs that has been motivated by the prosecutor’s desperation to get convictions for the unsolved raid on the University of Iowa. That raid remains unsolved and the prosecutor, Cliff Cronk, settled on a plea agreement to a lower-level crime that occurred outside of his jurisdiction.
“The outcome of this case really shows how little faith Cronk had in his case against Scott,” said Lisa Williams on behalf of the Scott and Carrie Support Committee (SCSC). “The government is all too willing to slap people with baseless, overblown charges that they have no hope of proving in order to force them to take plea agreements. We support Scott in his decision and will continue to support him while he’s in custody.”
DeMuth was indicted under the AEPA last November after refusing to testify before a federal grand jury in Davenport that was investigating the 2004 ALF raid. Since the original indictment, DeMuth was re-indicted twice in response to his defense attorneys’ motions to have the charges dismissed because they are unconstitutionally vague and have been issued vindictively. The second superseding indictment added an allegation of DeMuth’s involvement in a conspiracy to liberate animals from a farm in Minnesota in 2006. DeMuth was subpoenaed to the grand jury along with Carrie Feldman, 21, of Minneapolis. Feldman also refused to testify before the grand jury and was jailed for four months for civil contempt. On August 23, Feldman was subpoenaed by the prosecution to testify at DeMuth’s trial.
Court documents from both Feldman’s and DeMuth’s cases are available at: http://davenportgrandjury.wordpress.com/resources/
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