who refused grand jury testimony now charged with conspiracy
McGlynn quad city times
activist who refused to testify earlier this week before a federal grand
jury in Davenport is now charged with conspiracy for an act of “animal
enterprise terrorism” — believed to be a 2004 animal-rights
vandalism act at the University of Iowa.
DeMuth, 22, made his initial appearance this morning on a charge of conspiracy.
DeMuth was already in custody for contempt of court because of his refusal
to testify. Fellow activist Carrie Feldman, who at one time dated DeMuth,
also refused to testify and is in custody.
Ryan DeMuth did knowingly and intentionally conspire with persons unknown
to the grand jury to commit animal enterprise terrorism and cause economic
damage to the animal enterprise in an amount exceeding $10,000,” the
indictment unsealed today says.
indictment does not specifically say the charge is in connection to the
University of Iowa action. However, the time frame and indication that it
was in Johnson County match. Furthermore, federal authorities considered
the extensive vandalism an act of terrorism. And DeMuth and Feldman both
have said the Nov. 14 vandalism is what federal authorities wanted them
to testify about.
is being held in the Muscatine County Jail. Feldman is in the Washington
County Jail. The FBI was called in to investigate the November 2004 vandalism
and break-in at the University of Iowa's Spence Laboratories and Seashore
Hall. The Animal
Liberation Front, an underground animal-rights activist group, claimed responsibility
for the damage to lab equipment and the release of 88 mice and 313 rats
used in psychology department experiments. The break-in was designated as
domestic terrorism. UI officials estimated the damage in the hundreds of
thousands of dollars and offered a $10,000 reward for tips leading to identification
of the vandals. The university also increased security at its labs after
video released to the media by ALF after the break-in showed at least four
masked people had access to electronic keys and took their time as they
ransacked the laboratories. David Skorton, then president of the university,
condemned the destruction and the implied threat to researchers in an e-mail,
which listed researcher names, home addresses and phone numbers. The e-mail
was posted on a Web site that posts reports of ALF activity.
environment for researchers at the university, Skorton said, was "permanently
according to its Web site, is "a loosely associated collection of cells
of people who intentionally violate the law in order to free animals from
captivity and the horrors of exploitation." The people in one cell
do not know people in other cells to "prevent legal authorities from
breaking up the organization."
break into buildings to release animals, destroy property and use intimidation
to "prevent further animal abuse and murder," the site says. Feldman,
20, and DeMuth, both from Minneapolis, were ordered held Tuesday until they
decide to testify before the grand jury, Judge John Jarvey ruled. Their
confinement could be for the term of the grand jury — which they believe
has 11 months remaining — or until the end of this proceeding, federal
code says. The longest they can be held is 18 months. It
is unclear whether DeMuth’s civil contempt still stands. About 40
people from across the Midwest traveled to support Feldman and
DeMuth, who spoke at a rally outside the courthouse in downtown Davenport
before their appearance. The protesters were met by a heavy police presence.