A Dangerous Man: Tim DeChristopher Now Loose
April 23, 2013
A friend writes: “Saw Bidder 70 tonight. DeChristopher’s simulcast afterward was one of the most amazing thigs I’ve ever seen. I imagine watching him is like what it was to watch MLK Jr speak. Truly incredible.”
The first post I ever wrote about Tim DeChristopher and his struggle is still the most popular post ever on this blog, by an order of magnitude. After 21 months of prison for creatively monkey-wrenching an illegal sale of public land, DeChristopher is now free.
Tim DeChristopher created quite a ripple in the activist community when he tried to buy millions of dollars of land in December of 2008 in order to stop the oil and gas industry from snatching it up at an illegitimate auction put on by the outgoing Bush administration. While the incoming Obama administration cancelled the auction, Tim was caught in the fallout, while the rest of the auctioneers presumably roam free.
He was slapped with two federal felony charges – one for making false statements and violating the Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act.
Tim’s trial was pushed back 6 times over two years and was fraught with maddening plot twists. The judge refused to let Tim use the Necessity Defense or let the jury know crucial facts, including that the auction was illegal. Tim was also prohibited from testifying on how he acted on moral convictions relating to climate change.
His prison term was no less eventful. During March of last year, Tim was thrown inisolated confinement for two and a half weeks after writing correspondence that the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) deemed potentially harmful because it contained the word “threat.” It turned out he was only “threatening” to return a potential legal fund donation from a company whose ethics weren’t aligned with his own.
Rumors went around that an unnamed Congressman had put in the order, but investigations never figured out if it was true.