Important court updates from earlier today!

For all of you in the Twin Cities, please read this message and head to the courts in the morning. For those of you outside of the Cities, keep on the lookout for more info on the important trials going on this week.

A message from the CRASS Courtwatch Working Group…

This day turned out to be an emotional, stressful one for David McKay, one of the Texas 2 (http://www.freethetexas2.com). David is accused of making Molotov cocktails during the RNC. He’s already gone through one trial, which was declared a mistrial. The jury couldn’t come to a verdict, likely because they couldn’t determine if snitch Brandon Darby entrapped David.

David’s re-trial was scheduled for this morning at 9am. Due to threats by the state to subpoena co-defendant Bradley Crowder to testify against him as well as threats to enhance Crowder’s sentence which has yet to be determined, David was prepared to enter a guilty plea this morning. The judge initially refused to accept the plea, asking which facts had changed to warrant a change of plea. The prosecution and the defense spent the rest of the afternoon discussing the guilty plea and what the government would or would not agree to do in exchange for such a plea.

The two parties have until tomorrow at 9 AM to come to some resolution of the plea agreement. Otherwise, either McKay pleads guilty without benefit of an agreement, or the case goes to trial.

There is no one with David in court for him this time–no friends, no family, just us. He needs our support! Go show your solidarity with David!

Tuesday, March 17, 9am
US District Courthouse, Room 15E (Judge Davis)
300 S. 4th St, Mpls

For more information on David’s trial, visit http://tc.indymedia.org.

The full message is below, but first check out other people who need your support!

If you’re in St. Paul or can get down there, there are several other people who need support in court. Two defendants have a trial beginning tomorrow morning at 9am, and another one has jury selection beginning at 9am. Go show them some support as well!

Tuesday, March 17, 9am
Ramsey County Courthouse
15 W. Kellogg Blvd, St. Paul

Room 1380 (Judge Fetsch): Jury trial for 2 defendants.

Room 1580 (Judge Wilson): Jury selection for 1 defendant.

Full Message about David McKay

Trial was postponed until tomorrow morning at 9am. The prosecution wants to put Bradley Crowder on the witness stand at McKay’s next trial. Crowder is unwilling to testify. Since he hasn’t been sentenced yet, the defense argues that 5th amendment rights still apply. The prosecution has moved that the court “immunize” Crowder as far as sentencing goes, (so that anything he testifies to will not affect his sentencing) and “compel him to testify.” The judge agreed to this. If there is a trial, Bradley Crowder can be called on (and required) to testify.

After this, David McKay attempted to enter a guilty plea, but Judge Davis repeatedly asked which facts had changed to warrant a change of plea. In other words, why was he innocent before, but guilty now? (The judge calls this “looking for a factual basis” for the plea change.) David repeatedly said that he was “trying to take responsibility for my own actions.” He said that the decision to build Molotov cocktails was his, he went and bought the materials, and he assembled them in the bathroom. The prosecution tried to get David to renege on his earlier testimony regarding entrapment. They wanted him to say definitively that Darby did not entrap him, that it was not Darby’s idea to build Molotov cocktails, and so on. They seem to be trying to get him to say that he lied on the witness stand. But McKay wouldn’t back down. He stood by his previous testimony.

The conundrum posed by the plea change is this: When David stands by his previous testimony, the judge says that there is no material change in the facts to warrant a guilty plea. And when he tries to tweak his testimony to accomodate the prosecution’s demands, the judge says, “Where are you getting these revelations?” Clearly the judge is inclined to believe that David was telling the truth the first time.

The judge strongly warned the defendant and his attorney that if he were asked to consider entrapment evidence at a sentencing, the standard would be “the preponerance of evidence.” Whereas at a trial, the government would have the burden of proof to prove that McKay was not entrapped and prove it “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is a very significant difference, emphasized the judge. “I’m just trying to protect your rights, here,” he said. David nodded.

After several rounds of these exchanges (and in spite of the fact that the judge had already called for a jury twice, and potential jurors were standing out in the hallway), the defense was still trying to enter a guilty plea, and the judge relented a bit. He agreed to let the prosecution and the defense discuss the guilty plea and what the government would or would not agree to do in exchange for such a plea.

The attempted plea deal was that McKay would plead guilty to all three charges, the prosecution would forgo the “level 4 enhancements” to sentencing, and the judge would not be bound by any sentencing guidelines. Unless McKay repudiates his trial testimony (essentially admitting to perjury), the prosecution will not agree to a plea deal. McKay can still plead guilty without a deal, but the prosecution will reserve the right to pursue the maximum sentence. And if he goes to trial, they will put Bradley Crowder on the witness stand.

The two parties have until tomorrow at 9 AM to come to some resolution of the plea agreement. Otherwise, either McKay pleads guilty without benefit of an agreement, or the case goes to trial.

Our advice: Go to court tomorrow! David is a gutsy young man struggling with very difficult issues. There is no one there in court for him this time–no friends, no family, just us. NLG Attorney Ted Dooley says that court is the loneliest place in the world. A show of support might make this difficult time a little less lonely.

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