The ELF canaries are singing and the rest of the team (McDavid) is left holding the bag. Seems like poetic justice that such creeps would turn on each other.

KALW News (CA)
Alleged eco-terrorist argues entrapment
By Ali Winston
August 9, 2010

Among the appellate cases heard by the Ninth District Court in San
Francisco today was that of alleged “eco-terrorist” Eric McDavid, a
tale that has all the makings of a modern-day version of Joseph
Conrad’s novel, The Secret Agent.

McDavid was convicted in 2008 of conspiring to sabotage government and
privately-owned properties, including cellphone towers, electric power
stations, the United States Forest Service Institute of Forest
Genetics, and the Nimbus Dam and Fish Hatchery near Folsom. In his
charging documents, McDavid is linked to the Earth Liberation Front, a
loosely-knit direct action organization that advocates direct action –
including property destruction – against institutions that damage the
environment. In its prosecutions of ELF activists such as McDavid and
Jeff “Free” Luers, federal authorities often emphasize the
organization’s connection to a broader “anarchist” movement.
McDavid was sentenced to 20 years in prison, one of the longest
sentences ever handed down for environmental terrorism.

However, McDavid maintains he was entrapped by one of his erstwhile
comrades, a young woman named “Anna” whom he met at a Crimethinc
convergence in August 2004 in Des Moines, Iowa. Anna provided McDavid
and his friends Zachary Jenson and Lauren Weiner (both of whom plead
guilty and appeared as government witnesses in McDavid’s trial) with
food, transportation and housing while the three were living on the

In truth, Anna was a paid informant for the Federal Bureau of
Investigation. According to court records, Anna contributed
information to at least 12 investigations of “anarchist” actions and
filed regular reports on McDavid, Jenson and Weiner actions with her
handlers. She put up McDavid, Jenson and Weiner in a rented cabin in
the town of Dutch Flat that was riddled with hidden microphones and
video cameras, and under 24-hour monitoring by FBI agents.

The arguments presented by McDavid’s defense attorney, Mark Reichel
and Assistant US Attorney Steven Lapham centered around whether the
jury was given misleading instructions by District Court Judge
Morrison England as to whether Anna should be considered a government
agent, a key component of an entrapment defense. In response to juror
questions, Judge England applied in the affirmative orally. When the
question resurfaced during final deliberation, Judge England reversed
his stance in a written instruction to jurors.

The three-judge panel of Consuelo Maria Callahan, Carlos Bea and Susan
Graber queried both lawyers about the timing and nature of the
instructions, attempting to discern whether Judge England had made
made a “harmless error” or whether his contradicting instructions had
influenced the jury’s decision to convict. Reichel’s appellate brief
cites statements made by jurors that they would have ruled differently
if they had been allowed to consider Anna a government agent.

Callahan was perplexed at the discrepancy between the jury
instructions. “How could the jury think that she wasn’t an agent?” she
said. “So it was a typo?”

“No your honor,” replied Reichel. “They have to type the word ‘no.”

“It’s clear that it was an error – they typed in the opposite of what
he [Judge England] said,” interjected Judge Graber.

Judge Bea also appeared confused by the sequence of events in the
district court.

Lapham, the prosecutor, argued that the error was harmless because the
issue of entrapment didn’t hold water. “We actually conceded that she
was a government agent,” Lapham said. “The government did not seek out
prosecution in this case – Anna’s role was to report on real time
potential and violent activities so they could be counteracted.”

Despite the Assistant U.S. Attorney’s assertions about the clarity of
Anna’s status, McDavid’s attorney and court documents present Anna
differently. Reichel told the court that FBI agents referred to Anna
as a “cooperating witness” in their testimony rather than a paid
informant. The affidavit of FBI Special Agent Nasson Walker, filed
along with the original complaint against McDavid, described Anna as a
“confidential source” who receives “compensation” for her work as an

Furthermore, the district court refused to allow discussion of
McDavid’s relationship with Anna before July 2005, when she first
reported his radicalization. This decision was to limit the jury’s
focus to the time period when the ELF “cell” was allegedly planning
their operation. Judge Graber took issue with this decision. “If
someone takes a long time, 8 years, 10 years, is it still inducement?”
She asked Lapham.

Anna’s role in pushing McDavid, Jenson and Weiner to act was also
under debate. Lapham maintained that she played a minimal role in the
group, and that McDavid was the “clear leader of the pack,” spoke
frequently of committing violent acts and did most of the planning and
reconnaissance of potential targets. Lapham downplayed Anna’s personal
relationship with McDavid, emphasizing that there was never any sexual
contact between the pair; he even asserted that Zachary Jenson was
under the impression that McDavid was trying to “force himself on

By contrast, defense attorney Reichel claimed Anna used McDavid’s
attraction to her to deepen his involvement in the group. Reichel told
the court that in 2005, Anna received specified FBI training to keep
McDavid “on the hook” –in other words, how to keep him interested in
her and not feel jilted. “That clearly qualifies as inducement,” said
Reichel. Judges Callahan and Graber both followed this line of
questioning, with Callahan characterizing Anna’s alleged inducement as

Eric’s father George McDavid was a spectator along with several
relatives and friends of his son. The elder McDavid said he did not
buy the government’s argument that his son was bent on violent
activity. “I watched many of those videos – not all of them, but you
can see on the tapes that Anna is pushing them to do something –
c’mon, c’mon,” said McDavid. “If that’s not entrapment, I don’t know
what the [Please excuse my language... I'm an idiot] is.”

The United States Attorney for Eastern California has been involved in
at least one questionable terrorism case in the recent past. The
prosecution of two Lodi imams for links to international jihadist
groups was the subject of a PBS Frontline documentary, The Enemy
Within, which raised questions about whether the Justice Department
and the FBI were exaggerating the threat of terrorism.

Mac Leod Motto