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by Sacramento Prisoner Support
Wednesday, Sep. 26, 2007 at 5:48 PM
Court report from day 7 of trial
Below is the court report for yesterday (Monday). The majority of the day was taken up by Zachary Jenson's testimony, followed by Randy Meyer of the IFG, and then the prosecution rested. Mark began the defense's case with character witnesses. Today (Tuesday) was the last day of arguments and the jury will begin deliberating tomorrow morning, after they receive their instructions. We'll post the report from today soon.
Please keep calling the jail, as Eric is still not receiving vegan meals! He did receive commissary again this week. Visit www.supporteric.org for more info on calling the jail.
Day 7, September 24, 2007
[Note: This is day 7 because it is the 7th scheduled court day, though only the 5th full day of court. The previous two court days consisted of the court being informed about defense attorney Mark Reichel’s injury.]
After the RNC, Zach went back to Seattle and didn’t see Eric again until April of 05 in Seattle, when Eric stayed with him at his house for 2-3 weeks. They then hitched down the coast together, split up in Vegas and Eric went to Ft. Lauderdale for the OAS. They met up again in Philly at Bio, which is where they met Lauren for the 1st time and stayed at her apartment. Zach testified that he noticed a “change” in Eric after the RNC, that Eric seemed more “focused” and that by June of 05 Eric saw protest as ineffective. He testified that Eric had been a mediator at a spokescouncil meeting at Bio in 05. He also claimed that Eric discussed the use of Molotov cocktails at bio, and that this was typical of Eric’s new attitude.
In July of 05, Zach attended the Crimethinc convergence in Bloomington, IN. Eric and Anna were also there. Zach testified that he and Eric both attended a guerrilla warfare skillshare, although he doesn’t remember specifics about the skillshare. He claimed that they did discuss targeting federal buildings. He said that while in Bloomington, Eric identified possible targets, including banks (to burn the money), mountain top removal projects, and communist party buildings.
In August 05, Zach returned to Philly for Pointless Fest. He stated that he met Eric and Lauren at a café where they discussed protest being ineffective and using direct action. He said they planned to reconvene in the winter, and at the AUSA’s prompting he added that it was mostly Eric and Lauren who participated in the conversation. Zach claimed that Eric had alluded to direct action during the summer. He testified that Eric did not seem hesitant at this time, and that he never seemed hesitant after August of 05.
After Pointless Fest, Eric and Zach hitched back to the west coast. He claimed that while they were passing through Kansas suggested dropping sugar or “little bombs” into gas tanks.
In November at Eric’s parent’s house in Forest Hill, Zach testified that Eric claimed the group was at the house of a “known anarchist.” He also claimed that Eric told the group during a conversation at the fire pit that their discussions and meeting there constituted an act of conspiracy and that he was ready to go to jail for his beliefs. The AUSA asked Zach if Eric seemed hesitant about direct action at this time and Zach said no. Zach testified that Eric and Anna asked him that night about how he was feeling about direct action. He told them he felt comfortable, but when the AUSA asked him if he was, in fact, comfortable at that time, he said no. The AUSA then brought up an interview/article with Derrick Jensen, and asked if Eric had referred to it at the meeting. Zach said yes, and explained that the article was about “fence sitters” and how it doesn’t matter if they’re scared away by action, because they’re going to be scared away anyway. He said he recalled that the Jensen article mentions dams as a target. He said that Eric agreed with Jensen’s views.
Zach claimed that while in Forest Hill the group discussed targets, including billboards, cell phone towers, corporate buildings, and the IFG (Institute of Forest Genetics). He claimed that Anna did not indicate a particular target, but that she did ask a lot of questions – in Foresthill and at the cabin in Dutch Flat. Zach claimed that Eric brought up the idea of homemade C4 in Foresthill – a “recipe” including mixing bleach and ammonia. In Foresthill, the group decided that they would meet after the New Year to begin.
The AUSA asked Zach if Eric seemed influenced by Anna and he said no. She asked if Eric seemed hesitant in Foresthill, and he said no.
Zach then explained security culture. The AUSA asked Zach if Eric understood security culture, and Zach claimed he didn’t remember if he did, but he “assumed” he did. He also said he didn’t remember if he was given directions about security culture from Pointless Fest through January of 06. He said he signed up for email in December of 06 that he thought was secure (anythingirish).
He claimed that the group had discussed cutting off contact with their families so they wouldn’t know where they were. He also said they discussed a possible safehouse in Wyoming. Zach stated that Eric wanted security to “be pretty tight.” The government then brought forth an exhibit - an email between Eric and Zach in which Eric asked Zach to talk to Lauren about security culture.
The AUSA asked Zach if Eric asked Anna to do anything to further the plan during the weekend in Foresthill. Zach said no. Zach said he contributed 0 worth of food stamps for groceries during their time in Dutch Flat. He also said that Eric held on to the “Burn Book” the most. He claimed that Eric had voiced an opinion on the accidental death of civilians, which was that he would avoid intentionally hurting people, but that he would take it on a case by case basis. Zach claimed he didn’t want to be a part of any “accidental death of civilians,” and that Eric didn’t feel the same.
Zach testified that the group did “recon” at the Nimbus dam and at the IFG. The group parked their car at a market across the street from the IFG to hide their license plate. They told the workers at the IFG that they were students from a local college, and Eric signed in for the group under an alias (the Sean Douglas Group). Zach claims that the group considered the IFG a target on that day. Zach testified that Eric and Lauren used the internet on the 11th to search for chemical supplies, but the search was unsuccessful. They identified stores and Eric called them. At the cabin they discussed testing explosives in the desert in Nevada or Susanville.
On January 12, the group came into contact with law enforcement when Anna got pulled over for running a stop sign. Zach claims the mood was tense after the stop, and that people blamed her “a little bit” for the stop. He says he can’t remember if she was criticized. He says that Eric tested fuses on the 12th, and that it was Eric’s idea. He also claimed that Eric was the primary person mixing bleach and ammonia that day. He says he himself did not stir the mixture. Upon prompting, Zach stated that Eric seemed “like the brains” of the operation, that he was coming up with most of the ideas and suggestions. When asked if Anna asked questions or made demands, he responded that she asked questions. He claimed that Eric’s opinion usually prevailed. He also claimed that Eric was the one to calm Anna down.
Zach stated that the plot was moving too quickly for him. After Anna left the night of the 12th, the rest of the group had a discussion about setting a schedule and having personal space so things would go more smoothly. .He testified that no one that night suggested that Anna be dropped, and that no one suggested pulling out of the conspiracy. He said the plan for January 13th was to get more supplies to try again.
When asked to describe his relationship with Eric during 05 and 06, Zach said that he saw Eric like a brother. He claimed that he still considers Eric a friend, and that Eric told him he should take care of himself. The AUSA asked Zach if he had conspired, and he said yes, that he had conspired to destroy property that was harming the environment.
Mark’s Cross Examination
Mark briefly reviewed the timeline Zach laid out in his direct. Zach confirmed that he did not pick out Anna as an informant at the G8 in June 04. He said he found her to be attractive, and that they had “small” conversations.
Zach described the sleeping arrangements at Crimethinc in Des Moines (04). He said that he slept in the attic of a house, and that Anna “was sleeping with him [Eric] there as well.” Zach said that Eric had no money at this time, and that he was homeless and living off the land. He said this was his own situation as well. He said that Anna did have cash in Des Moines, and that she took him shopping at a corner store. He said that Eric at this time was honest, nice, friendly, and not violent. After Des Moines, Zach traveled to the RNC with Eric.
Mark then questioned Zach about previous drug use. He said marijuana sometimes made him feel divorced from reality and paranoid. He also affirmed that it helped him write more freely. He said he hasn’t written since May. Zach said he smoked marijuana with Eric before the fire pit conversation in Foresthill, but that they effects had started to wear off.
Zach said that Anna claimed she had been a stripper and that she had 0 bills, but that Eric never had much money. Again, he was homeless and penniless. When asked if he had ever known Eric to rent a home for a month, Zach said no. Zach said the 0 in food stamps he spent in Dutch Flat was end of the stamps, and that after that he himself was homeless and penniless again.
After the RNC, Zach and Eric went back to the west coast. Zach claims he can’t recall if Eric talked to him about Anna, or if Eric wrote love letters to Anna. After they arrived in Seattle, Eric stayed with Zach for a couple of weeks, then left. They took off together again in April 05. They had emailed through the spring, but did not discuss direct action then or while the traveled out east. Zach said Eric did not express a desire to engage in direct action in Auburn.
Zach said at some point he became aware that Eric had a romantic interest in Anna, which developed at Bio. He said he didn’t notice Anna ever spurning or pushing Eric away. She knew Eric was interested in her – it was no secret to anyone.
Mark asked Zach if he talked with the AUSA about the questions that were going to be asked during trial. He said yes, but not the exact questions. When asked if there were times he disagreed with the AUSA about what had happened, he said yes. Mark went over the process of Zach’s plea, during which time Zach affirmed that his lawyer had gone over the minimum and maximum amount of time in jail he faced and what the sentencing guidelines were. He was facing 5-20, but after his charges got reduced with the plea, he is now facing 0-5 years. He affirmed that he is now the government’s witness. He affirmed that he has not yet been sentenced, although his sentencing hearing was originally scheduled over a year ago. Now it is set for after trial. His goal is to get as little time as possible. Mark asked if the sentencing recommendation from the government was based on whether he was truthful, helpful, and offered his assistance, and Zach said yes. When Mark asked if the government was no longer the opponent in his mind, Zach said “correct.” He affirmed that the government had prepared him by giving him “pieces” of evidence to listen to. He said he wanted the government attorneys to be happy with him as a witness.
Mark then directed the conversation back to the email between Zach and Eric. Eric was in Sacramento at the time, and he says he can’t make it to the November meeting because he has family stuff to take care of. Mark asked if Eric didn’t want the group to know he was hesitant, and Zach said “correct.” He said he was acting.
Zach said that during the car ride out west in January that he was “still saying things to make them think I was good to go for it,” although he was hesitant and reluctant. He said that Anna paid for the gas during this trip. He says he does not remember Anna asking him how he felt about Eric being their leader during this trip, but he does remember a conversation (with Anna) about Anna leading them into a trap. Mark asked if that was because she was leading everybody on everything, and Zach said “it seemed like it.”
Anna told Eric to get an anythingirish email account. She was upset when Eric said he couldn’t make it to the November meeting. He affirmed that in December of 05 Eric was still trying to get a recipe from Anna, and that Eric never said to Anna that he had a recipe and that he didn’t need any help. He said that Lauren did bring books with recipes to Dutch Flat.
When asked if the government had talked to him prior to his testimony about who was the “brains of the operation” he said “yes I did.” Mark asked him if Anna had at least the same brainpower and wherewithal as Eric, and Zach said “she seemed to.” He affirmed that she had instructed Eric, and that Lauren had brought books with recipes. He testified that in July and August of 05, Eric said he didn’t want to go to the west coast on the advice of an attorney, and that he didn’t want to be involved in direct action in California. When Mark said that idea must have come from somewhere else, Zach said “I suppose so, yes.” Anna brought the laptops the group used, as well as a chemistry set.
The group spent a lot of time on the 11th trying to figure out what a hydrometer was – Zach testified that Eric didn’t know what it was, but that Anna did. He admitted that he himself is very unfamiliar with chemistry. He said he didn’t know if the “final product” at Dutch Flat would use a fuse, so he had no idea if the fuses were for something else. He had no understanding of what the final product would be called. He testified that the mixing was a failure, and that the bowl breaking added to the tension of the day. He admitted that it felt like they were a bunch of amateurs. When asked if Anna was the brains of the operation, he said she was in regards to the chemistry stuff.
In the “Burn Book,” it says “A” (for “Anna”) next to “Targets.” This was her concern and she wanted to talk about it. Eric’s name is nowhere on the list of concerns. The purpose of the book was to focus the group, and Anna encouraged everyone to write in it.
On the 12th, during the argument, Zach stated that things were moving too fast. He affirms that during this argument, Eric was advocating to Anna his (Zach’s) position. Eric says maybe they can just do billboards. Lauren was also trying to pull back. Lauren was in the kitchen during the mixing, but Anna was trying to get her to come out. Eric was sticking up for Lauren, telling Anna not to push people. When asked if Anna was pushing people, Zach said yes, that he found Anna to be pushy at this point. After the argument, Zach voiced concern that Anna had turned off her cell phone for security reasons.
Mark then asked Zach if anarchism means different things to different people, and Zach responded “yes.” He affirmed that it’s a political view that is egalitarian and concerned for others, that the poor should be helped. He said this was a vision he shared with Eric. He testified that Eric was not violent when they met.
Zach testified that he and Eric smoked marijuana the night of the 12th. They then wrote in the “Burn Book” their plans for the next day, to organize how things were going to go. He felt like things were moving too fast. He said that there were no real plans at the end of the day, but that they discussed plans later that night. Zach said that both he and Lauren’s goals during the discussion/argument on the 12th was to say things were going too fast, and that Eric was backing them up.
He testified that Lauren really like Anna, that Anna was like a sister to her and that she looked up to Anna. Zach said that Anna gave Eric money for supplies, 0 bills. He also testified that the group decided Nimbus dam would NOT be a target. The group had no specific cell towers identified as targets. The group had no agreement on fixed targets the morning of the 13th [when they were arrested]. Mark asked Zach if direct action could mean many different things (sit ins, breakaway marches, vandalism, arson) Mark asked Zach if people at convergences talk about direct action, and Zach affirmed. Zach had talked about federal buildings in July of 05. Zach affirmed that these were the same sorts of conversations the group was having on the 12th and 13th.
The government went back over the terms of Zach’s plea. He admitted having had to talk to agents about people unconnected to these charges. He said if he lies he can be recharged with the original charges. The government can recommend the full 5 years, under the current charge.
When asked if Eric had a physical relationship with Anna, Zach said yes, but only cuddling and sleeping. He named a couple other people Eric had physical relationships with. He said that Anna did not encourage Eric in his advances. He claims that he Anna told Lauren Eric was trying to force himself on her, but that Eric said he never forced himself on Anna.
He talked about how they ate out of dumpsters, shoplifted and panhandled. When asked if Eric was the same size he is now, Zach said that Eric looks like he’s lost 20 pounds [no surprise, as the jail continues to deny him vegan food…]. The AUSA asked Zach if Eric’s parent’s kicked him out, and he said no, that he understood Eric could go back home when he wanted to. He claims that Eric was not housesitting for his parents in November, but that he was actually living there.
Zach testified that Eric claimed to be the “idea man” for the group. He said that Eric expressed the desire to use a Molotov sometime between july of 04 and January of 05. He said that Eric didn’t seem capable of attacking gas stations (with sugar or little bombs) because he didn’t have the tools or supplies he would need. He said he didn’t seem hesitant. Zach said the group purchased a gas can for fuel for an explosive device.
Zach testified that Eric was not high on the 13th and that he appeared “willing to go.” When asked if Anna had not had money that morning, would the group have been able to get supplies, Zach said it would have been harder, but yes. The government then played an audio clip in which Eric is advocating slowing down, and possibly targeting unspecified cell phone towers. Anna expresses her dismay at losing the “tree factory” [IFG]. The government asked Zach who was giving the answers in this clip, and he replied “mostly Eric.” When asked how he felt when he reviewed the evidence in the case, Zach said it scared him because they “had a lot of evidence against us.” She asked him if he was guilty, and he said yes.
Mark points out that the excerpt isn’t the end of the conversation. Zach affirms that other people participate in other parts of the conversation and that it wasn’t just Eric. When Lauren later gives her views, Eric is supportive. Zach said Eric sat quietly to consider their thoughts, and that he was supportive of them. The disagreement was with the three of them and Anna.
Was the agreement still in place? “yes”
You had no idea what was in Eric’s mind, correct? “Correct”
Did Eric express opinions about going forward in this exhibit? “yes”
You were just acting, right? “yes”
So you have no idea whether or not Eric was acting also? “yes”
Randy Meyer’s Testimony
Randy Meyer works for the Department of Agriculture, USFS, at the IFG in Placerville, CA, where he is a biology technician in a lab. He has been in the field for 16 years. He says he interacts with college students regularly on the job. He says that visitors usually register in the registry book, as a security measure. He was at work on the 10th when Eric, Zach, Lauren and Anna came to the IFG. The group signed in under “Sean Douglas Group.” Randy had shaded in their entry with highlighter because he claims he was nervous about the group. He gave them brochures and pointed out the arboretum, but then saw them again later. He said they “weren’t quite doing what I thought they were gonna’ do.” He said their responses to questions weren’t making sense, as he has a familiarity with the local schools and what classes are offered, which teachers teach them, etc. He claims he spoke primarily with Eric. The government then pulled up a hand-drawn map, allegedly drawn by Eric, of the IFG. Randy testified that it was a fairly accurate representation of the property. He said if someone wanted to do mischief with the map, they could. He testified that there was a scientist who lives on site. The government then asked him about gas and fuel tanks, as well as chemical supply sheds. He said the propane tanks were not hidden and were “kinda’ hard to miss.” He said the chemical building was clearly marked on the outside, and that the chemicals would be toxic if caught on fire.
Randy said he had not been notified by the FBI prior to the group’s arrival (which he was upset about). He did not see what car they drove in, which was an indication to him that something was amiss, as no one had ever walked in off the road before. He stated that he thought Eric was the leader of the group. He did not notice anyone taking pictures or using a camera.
In a break, during the absence of the jury:
Both parties agreed to the following:
1)Cell phone towers affect interstate and international commerce
2)The Nimbus dam is owned and operated by the US Bureau of Reclamation
3)The fish hatchery is owned by the state of California
4)The IFG is owned by the USFS
1)To renew the pretrial motions to dismiss because of outrageous government misconduct
2)To renew the motion to suppress evidence of audio/video surveillance in DF because of 4th amendment violations, no warrant and Anna’s testimony that there was no place in the house the camera’s couldn’t reach
Govt says Anna never testified to that, the tapes only ran in her presence, the cabin was rented by the govt so there was no warrant required
3)To move for acquittal based on Rule 29, the govts failure to establish evidence of a crime
Defendant’s Case in Chief
Eric has known Eric for 15 years. They met in High School and have been best friends since then. The last time he saw Eric was at New Years in January of ‘06. Eric M. lived with Eric G. for a while in 04 while Eric M was working construction in Sacramento. He described Eric M as honest and kind, and said that Eric never expressed violent thoughts to him. Eric told him about his travels. He said that Eric did not strike him as someone who would have been involved in explosives in 05. He said Eric offered to help others and that his disposition was that he was always happy. He said he never heard Eric talk about making explosives. Eric was part of the family – he knew him for 15 years and he had never harmed anyone.
The AUSA asked Eric “Who is Derrick Jensen?” and Eric responded that he didn’t know. Eric said that he and Eric M talked back and forth about what they believed in, but that Eric never really talked about his own political views. Eric M never told him he was an anarchist. He did share travel stories and he did tell him he was attending protests and crimethinc convergences. He said he didn’t know where he was going after New Years. Eric G was interviewed by the FBI about Eric M in April of 06, and FBI documents show that Eric G reported to them that Eric had told him he was going to Seattle after New Years. The AUSA was seemingly trying to get Eric G to say that Eric M was lying to him, but he said he wouldn’t consider it a lie. He said he had never heard Eric M discussing plans. The AUSA then asked Eric G about his political views – specifically if he was conservative then, then if he was a republican. He stated that he was apolitical.
Eric Gonzalez’s wife has known Eric M for 13 years and also considers him a good friend.
[Long back and forth between govt and Mark about when admissible timeline starts – England sides with govt, effectively stating that predisposition starts the same day as the conspiracy allegedly begins???]
Sarah has known Eric for 13 years. During that time he has stayed and lived with them. He is like a brother to her. She said he’s always been special to her. She described him as caring and loving – as family. She said he has never been a violent person, and that she was extremely surprised by the charges. She said that he did talk to her about Anna – he enjoyed her company and looked forward to seeing her again. .
The government asked if Sarah was with Eric in Philly, Des Moines, etc. No. She couldn’t remember if Eric had talked with her about Derrick Jensen. She said that Eric had not told her he was an anarchist, but that he did talk to her about Ryan Lewis. He had not talked with her about direct action or the ELF.
Sarah is is Eric’s sister. She testified that Eric did not have a job in the summer of 05 and that he was traveling at the time. She said that her brother was completely non-violent, and that violence was not in his character. She said he is extremely peaceful and sensitive. She said he was normally happy. She testified that Eric came home for the holidays in 05. When Eric was arrested, she said she was completely surprised by what the media was saying about him being an “eco-terrorist.” When Mark asked her why she said “because he’s not.” She said he is not ok with killing people.
The govt asked her how many conversations she had with Eric about killing people, and she responded “zero.” She said that they had discussed his views on the environment, but had not discussed the ELF or ALF. She said she knew he was having friends up to the house in November. The government asked if she had heard any of the tapes, and she said yes. The government said, despite listening to all these things, you still believe he’s nonviolent? And she said yes. The government said “Because he’s your brother?” She responded that it was his character.
This concluded court for the day.
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