Eric McDavid

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Eric McDavid (born October 7, 1977) is an American 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,[1] the trial revealed that McDavid's group had not decided whether or not to claim the planned actions in the name of the ELF.[2] He was convicted and sentenced to 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.[3]

Sabotage plans[edit]

External video
Eric and "Anna", 14-minute video by The Intercept about the undercover operation

Together with Lauren Weiner, Zachary Jenson, and "Anna" (Zoe Elizabeth Voss, a paid FBI informant)[4] he planned acts of arson and sabotage to the Nimbus Dam, United States Forest Service, and nearby utilities.[5] During testimony, "Anna" claimed that the group considered the killing of bystanders to be collateral damage,[6] 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.[2] According to "Anna", McDavid threatened to kill her if she turned out to be working with law enforcement.[2][6]

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."[2]

Arrest, conviction, and appeal[edit]

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.[7] At their 2008 trials, Weiner and Jenson both pled guilty and testified against McDavid.[1] His defense contended that he was the victim of entrapment. McDavid was convicted in 2007 and sentenced to 20 years in prison.[5] On May 6, 2009, McDavid's attorney filed an appeal.[8][9] The appeal was denied in 2010.[10]

Release[edit]

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.[4][11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Eco-Terror Suspect Guilty in Bomb Plot, News 10, September 27th 2007.
  2. ^ a b c d Walsh, Denny (2007-09-26). "Leader or led by the FBI?". The Sacramento Bee. The McClatchy Company. Archived from the original on 2007-05-28. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  3. ^ "Convicted "eco-terrorist" freed amid claims FBI hid evidence". The Sacramento Bee. 2015-01-08. Retrieved 2015-01-08. 
  4. ^ a b Aaronson, Trevor; Galloway, Katie (November 19, 2015). "Manufacturing Terror: An FBI Informant Seduced Eric McDavid Into a Bomb Plot. Then the Government Lied About It.". The Intercept. Retrieved July 8, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b "Convicted ‘Eco-Terrorist’ Freed Because Of Dispute Over Evidence". CBS Sacramento. Associated Press. January 9, 2015. Retrieved July 7, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b Eric McDavid – Court Report from 9/11 | Anarchist news dot org
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-04-18. Retrieved 2009-06-03. 
  8. ^ Reichel, M (2009), Motion to Appeal United States v. McDavid, pp. 1–114 
  9. ^ "Appeal Status". Archived from the original on 2009-04-18. Retrieved 2009-06-03. 
  10. ^ http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/memoranda/2010/09/21/08-10250.pdf
  11. ^ "Convicted ‘eco-terrorist’ freed amid claims FBI hid evidence". Retrieved 2015-01-12. 

Further reading[edit]