|This article is outdated. (January 2015)|
Eric McDavid (born October 7, 1977) is a green anarchist who was convicted of conspiring to use fire or explosives to damage corporate and government property. After he spent eight years and 360 days in prison, his conviction was overturned when it became known the FBI had failed to disclose potentially exculpatory evidence to the defense. While U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott has called McDavid the first person in the U.S. to be prosecuted on Earth Liberation Front (ELF)-related charges, the trial revealed that McDavid's group had not decided whether or not to claim the planned actions in the name of the ELF. On September 27, 2007, he was convicted on all counts, and in May 2008 was sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison. On January 8, 2015 a federal judge ordered McDavid released from custody after the prosecution conceded that it had withheld thousands of pages of evidence.
Together with Lauren Weiner, Zachary Jenson, and "Anna" (Zoe Elizabeth Voss, a paid FBI informant) he planned acts of arson and sabotage to the Nimbus Dam and fish hatchery on the American River near Sacramento, the United States Forest Service Institute of Forest Genetics, cell phone towers, electric power stations, and other targets. During testimony, "Anna" claimed that the group considered the killing of bystanders to be collateral damage, although their plots were focused on property damage.
"Anna" had been working with the FBI to infiltrate the group since 2004. She encouraged their activities and provided them with bomb-making information, money to buy the raw materials, transportation and a cabin to work in, and produced consensual audio and video recordings of their activities. According to "Anna", McDavid threatened to kill her if she turned out to be working with law enforcement.
Defense attorney Mark Reichel argued that "Anna" acted as an agent provocateur: encouraging the group to focus on a target, paying for meeting arrangements and supplies, and urging the group to act when they wavered. Reichel stated at the trial, "the crisp $100 bills and a Dutch Flat cabin where the group lived in the days leading up to the trio's arrest—all supplied by "Anna" thanks to her FBI sponsors...That's the creation of a case...Without 'Anna,' you have nothing."
Arrest, conviction, and appeal
On January 13, 2006, the three were arrested outside a store where they had purchased household chemicals, presumably for bomb-making. None of the three had prior convictions. McDavid spent 2 years pre-trial in solitary confinement. He also formally declared a hunger strike due to the jail's refusal to provide him with vegan food. He was given vegan food intermittently. At their 2008 trials, Weiner and Jenson both pled guilty and testified against McDavid. McDavid's defense attorney, Mark Reichel, has argued that he was the victim of entrapment, but was found guilty of conspiring to use fire or explosives to damage corporate and government property and sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison. On May 6, 2009, McDavid's attorney filed an appeal. The appeal was denied in 2010.
As noted above, on Jan. 8, 2015, McDavid was released from prison after the government admitted it had withheld approximately 2500 pages of documents potentially useful for his defense, which included love letters exchanged between "Anna" and McDavid and proof that she had been exempted from a requested FBI polygraph test by her handler, Special Agent Ricardo Torres. The release was made in exchange for his guilty plea to a lesser charge of general conspiracy.
- Eco-Terror Suspect Guilty in Bomb Plot, News 10, September 27th 2007.
- Walsh, Denny (2007-09-26). "Leader or led by the FBI?". The Sacramento Bee (The McClatchy Company). Retrieved 2008-03-13.[dead link]
- "ECO-TERRORIST CONVICTED: Sacramento federal jury convicts Eric McDavid with conspiracy to commit domestic terrorism". Federal Bureau of Investigation. 2007-09-27. Archived from the original on 2008-01-10. Retrieved 2008-03-12.
- McDavid Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison as a “Terrorist”, Green Is The New Red, May 9th 2008.
- 'Eco-terrorist' gets 20 years for plotting bombing campaign 'Eco-terrorist' gets 20 years for plotting bombing campaign, Turkish Press, May 9th 2008. Archived November 5, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Convicted "eco-terrorist" freed amid claims FBI hid evidence". The Sacramento Bee. 2015-01-08. Retrieved 2015-01-08.
- Trevor Aaronson, Katie Galloway (2015-11-19). "Manufacturing Terror". The Intercept.
- Rafer Weigel (2007-09-27). "Man Convicted Of Plotting To Blow Up Nimbus Dam". Retrieved 2008-03-12.
- Eric McDavid – Court Report from 9/11 | Anarchist news dot org
- Weigel, Rafal (2007-09-27). "Convicted Of Plotting To Blow Up Nimbus Dam". CW31. Retrieved 2008-04-27.
- Reichel, M (2009), Motion to Appeal United States v. McDavid, pp. 1–114
- "Appeal Status". Retrieved 2009-06-03.
- "Convicted ‘eco-terrorist’ freed amid claims FBI hid evidence". Retrieved 2015-01-12.
- United States of America vs Eric McDavid, Lauren Weiner, and Zachary Jenson – Criminal Complaint
- 2012 Outside Magazine article on the criminal case
- "Eric & "Anna" — Field of Vision". Field of Vision. Retrieved 2016-03-01.