Utah Monkey-Wrencher Activist Charged With Two Felonies

April 6, 2009

(ChattahBox)—Twenty-seven year old Utah student and environmental activist, Tim DeChristopher was indicted recently on two felony counts for his role in “monkey-wrenching” a December Salt Lake City auction, where he made bogus bids totaling $1.8 million on 14 parcels of land destined for gas and oil drilling. DeChristopher said he made the bogus bids to stop oil and gas drilling near national parks and to bring attention to global warming issues. The young environmental crusader said he was willing to go to jail to support participatory democracy.

The prosecutor in the case, U.S. Attorney Brett Tolman, spoke publicly to reporters after the indictments were handed down, saying he doesn’t expect the University Of Utah Student to serve the maximum federal ten year sentence for his monkey wrenching acts. Tolman said since DeChristopher has a clean record, it’s unlikely he would even be sentenced to 5 years.

De Christopher’s lawyers, Pat Shea and Ron Yengich find it strange that the prosecutor is publicly speaking of sentencing when that’s under the discretion of the judge in the case saying, “the story gets curiouser and curiouser.”

Many in the Utah legal community are surprised Tolman went ahead with prosecuting DeChristopher after Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, stepped in and removed those parcels of land from sale offered in the auction.

Also, U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina enjoined the Bureau of Land Management from leasing those parcels under a suit filed by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and several other conservation groups.

U.S. Attorney Tolman, is a republican holdover appointee from the Bush administration and there is talk he may be using the publicity from prosecuting this case to stage a political campaign.

DeChristopher is scheduled for arraignment before a judge on April 28 and Tolman says he is in plea agreement discusssions with DeChristopher’s lawers.


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