Home > Environment > Environmentalist Freed from Prison After 9 Years; Gov’t Admits Withholding Documents | Various sources

Environmentalist Freed from Prison After 9 Years; Gov’t Admits Withholding Documents | Various sources


On Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, United States District Judge Morrison C. England granted a joint request by defense attorneys and the Dept. of Justice and ordered Eric McDavid released from prison with time served, because the government withheld documents from the defense at trial, according to a Civil Liberties Defense Center news release.

Eric and his family reunited outside jail

Eric and his family reunited outside jail (contributed photo)

Eric McDavid is a political prisoner, currently serving a 20 year sentence in federal prison for “thought crime,” according to the Support Eric McDavid website.

His prosecution had become well known in environmental circles partly because of its star witness: a pink-haired informant who began covertly working for the F.B.I. at 17 after writing a community college paper about infiltrating political protest groups, the New York Times reports.

McDavid was arrested in January 2006 (as part of the government’s ongoing “Green Scare” campaign against environmental and animal rights activists) after being targeted by an undercover informant who formulated a crime and entrapped Eric in it. Eric was targeted by the state for his political beliefs, and his case is important for everyone who dares to stand up.

An environmental activist sentenced to 19 years in prison for “ecoterrorism” in what his supporters say was a case of FBI entrapment has been released after serving nine years, DemocracyNow! reported. McDavid was convicted by a jury on Sept. 27, 2007 of plotting to bomb sites in California including the Nimbus Dam (conspiring to damage or destroy property by fire or explosive (18 U.S.C. § 844(n))).

But his attorneys say he was entrapped by a teenage informant who supplied him with food, housing and bomb-making instructions, and pressured him into illegal activity. As part of a settlement, federal prosecutors acknowledged withholding evidence in the case, including an FBI request for the informant to undergo a lie-detector test. McDavid was released after pleading guilty to a conspiracy charge.

No such property destruction occurred. He was sentenced by Judge England on May 8, 2008 to 235 months in prison – almost the 20-year maximum.

On Thursday, Judge England accepted an alternate plea by McDavid to general conspiracy under 18 U.S.C. § 371 with a maximum sentence of 5 years. Because McDavid has already served 9 years, he will be released forthwith. In exchange for the reduction, the government insisted McDavid waive all claims for civil damages.

McDavid, now 37, spent three days shy of nine years in custody and agreed Thursday to plead guilty to a lone conspiracy count that would have earned him, at most, a five-year prison sentence, The Sacramento Bee reports. In essence, the deal was crafted between the two sides to make the whole mess go away, and England reluctantly signed off on it.


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