Grand Jury Resistance Project Press Releases
Nine new Chicago-based anti-war and international solidarity activists who were subpoenaed in December to a federal grand here jury are scheduled to testify Tuesday. However, similarly to the 14 subpoenaed activists who preceded them, the nine are also expected to invoke their constitutional rights and refuse to answer questions. This resistance to grand jury questioning is in response to what activists are calling harassment and intimidation of the anti-war movement, and will coincide on Tuesday with a national day of protests in more than 40 cities across the U.S.
Three anti-war and international solidarity activists from the Minneapolis area were notified late last week that their subpoenas will be reissued. Sarah Martin, Tracy Molm, and Anh Pham were among 14 activists from Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota subpoenaed to a federal grand jury in Chicago after their homes and offices were raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). On September 24th, the FBI raided several activists' homes and offices in Chicago, Minneapolis, and Durham, North Carolina, seizing computers, cell phones, organizational paperwork, financial records, and other personal items in what activists are calling a campaign of harassment and intimidation.
Several anti-war and international solidarity activists announced their refusal yesterday to testify before a grand jury convened in Chicago, allegedly investigating "material support" of groups the federal government has designated as "terrorists." The first of a set of hearings was scheduled to start October 5th, but the government withdrew the subpoenas in response to activists asserting their Fifth Amendment right, and now must consider whether to offer them immunity. According to the Associated Press, all of the 14 activists subpoenaed within the past two weeks are refusing to testify, a considerable setback for the federal government.
As activists and others demonstrate their support tomorrow outside federal court in Eugene, Oregon, with a noon press conference, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) will seek "terrorism enhancements" to add up to 20 years to the prison sentences of ten young environmental and animal rights activists. Tomorrow's hearing in the "Operation Backfire" cases comes as an embattled DoJ, with little to show from its so-called "war on terror," attempts to blur the line between acts of property damage and those crimes designed to inflict serious injury or death. This marks the first time in U.S. history the federal government has sought to apply the "terrorism enhancement" to property crimes that did not result in injury or death to humans. All of the acts of property damage, for which the ten are claiming responsibility, were specifically designed to avoid harm or injury to living beings.
Animal rights activist Nadia Winstead was found in civil contempt today by U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston for invoking her constitutional rights and refusing to testify before a federal grand jury. Winstead's attorney, Mark Goldrosen, immediately requested that Winstead be released on her own recognizance pending an appeal that will be filed with the Ninth Circuit Court. Instead, judge Illston stayed enforcement of the contempt order for two weeks to allow Winstead to file the appeal.
Activists will demonstrate Thursday at 9am in front of the federal building at 450 Golden Gate, in support of Ariana Huemer, an animal liberation activist subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury at 9:30am that day. Huemer along with at least ten other animal liberation activists were subpoenaed last year to appear before a similar grand jury. Huemer appeared before that grand jury in January, but asserted her constitutional rights and refused to testify, and was later excused. Huemer and three other activists refused to cooperate with the grand jury at that time.
Independent journalist Josh Wolf was jailed today for refusing to provide video footage to a federal grand jury convened in January. U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup denied Wolf's First, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendment arguments, found him in civil contempt, and ordered him immediately jailed. Wolf, 24, was taken to the Dublin federal detention center, and could remain there until July 2007, for the duration of the grand jury.
Independent journalist Josh Wolf, who is facing civil contempt charges for refusing to testify and provide evidence to a federal grand jury, will appear before U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup this Thursday. On behalf of the government, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Finigan is seeking video footage of a July 2005 protest in the Mission district against the Group of Eight (G8), meeting in Scotland at the time. If convicted, Wolf could be jailed for up to 13 months.
In a show of courage against an attempt by the federal government to obtain First Amendment protected information, independent journalist Josh Wolf refused to testify or provide video evidence yesterday to a federal grand jury convened in February. The grand jury is investigating events surrounding a July 2005 demonstration against the Group of Eight (G8) meeting that year in Scotland. Wolf asserted his First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendment Rights as a basis for declining to answer the grand jury.