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Activist Scott DeMuth taken into custody for 6-month jail term

By staff |
February 17, 2011
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Davenport, IA - On Feb. 14, Twin Cities-based activist Scott DeMuth was taken into custody by the authorities in Davenport, Iowa. This stems from his conviction for a misdemeanor charge of ‘conspiracy to commit animal enterprise terrorism’ under the Animal Enterprise Protection Act. Scott is being transferred to the Polk County Jail, near Des Moines, Iowa, where he will be processed. The authorities will then determine where he will serve out his sentence.

DeMuth’s sentence is six months, with one year supervised release afterwards. He will face no additional probation, no fines and no restitution. This follows a plea agreement DeMuth reached with prosecutors last September. According to the Scott and Carrie Support Committee, “This is not a cooperating plea agreement; Scott has not been asked to testify against anyone else, nor would he do so.”

The government’s case against DeMuth began when the authorities raided multiple activists’ houses in Minneapolis on the eve of the 2008 Republican National Convention, to try to stop protests from happening at the convention. From items seized at one of the houses, including DeMuth’s journals and computers, the FBI mistakenly developed the theory that DeMuth had been involved in an action to free laboratory animals at the University of Iowa in 2004. That action had been claimed by a group called the Animal Liberation Front.

As one of the many repressive spinoffs of the massive state repression against protesters at the Republican National Convention, a Grand Jury was convened to investigate and prosecute DeMuth for this completely unrelated incident five years earlier in Iowa. Scott DeMuth and Carrie Feldman were subpoenaed and ordered to testify at a Davenport, Iowa Grand Jury. They took a principled stand, refusing to testify against their friends and fellow activists. For that, Carrie Feldman was jailed for four months in 2009-2010, until the Grand Jury decided it didn’t need her testimony to indict DeMuth, and she was suddenly freed. Since then, Feldman has been outspoken in condemning Grand Juries as a tool of the prosecution used against progressive and radical activists. She has been vocal in supporting the 23 anti-war and international solidarity activists who have been subpoenaed before a Grand Jury allegedly investigating ‘material support to foreign terrorist organizations.’

Through DeMuth’s plea agreement, Prosecutor Cliff Cronk had to abandon his attempts to hold DeMuth accountable for the 2004 Animal Liberation Front raid at the University of Iowa, instead settling for convicting him of one count of misdemeanor conspiracy to commit animal enterprise terrorism under the Animal Enterprise Protection Act for his role in the April 29, 2006 raid on Lakeside Ferrets, Inc., in Howard Lake, Minnesota. The 2004 case remains unsolved at the expiration of its statute of limitations, despite the Federal Bureau of Investigation spending years and untold thousands of dollars investigating the incident. Prosecutor Cronk used inflammatory rhetoric throughout the pre-trial hearings to paint DeMuth as a danger to society based on his alleged political views. At one point, Cronk went so far as to write in a court document that DeMuth is an anarchist and “therefore, he is a domestic terrorist.”

There is more information on Scott DeMuth’s case at the website of the Scott and Carrie Support Committee: