APca 06/17 1626 Butler SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -- The Rev. Richard Butler, who remains under m

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APca 06/17 1626 Butler SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -- The Rev. Richard Butler, who remains under medical care following two surgeries last month, wants to be tried on federal sedition charges in Idaho instead of Arkansas. Butler's attorney, Everett D. Hofmeister of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, filed a dozen motions, including one seeking a trial separate from 13 co-defendants. Butler, leader of the Church of Jesus Christ Christian (Aryan Nations), is also asking for access to secret grand jury transcripts. Butler wants to know if the FBI tapped his telephone or those of other white supremacists during a lengthy federal investigation that resulted in the return of a seditious conspiracy indictment against 14 defendants in late April in Fort Smith, Ark. Hofmeister said Butler needs to have "sufficient knowledge of the facts concerning the alleged conspiracy" in order to defend himself. Hofmeister said Butler was seeking a separate trial because charges against other defendants, including planned assassinations of a judge and an FBI agent, would prejudice Butler's case. Hofmeister recently filed the motions in U.S. District Court in Fort Smith. The attorney noted in an affidavit that Butler, 69, underwent quadruple heart bypass surgery and carotid artery surgery in early May, and is still under the care of physicians in Spokane. Hofmeister is challenging jurisdiction because the indictment contends the conspiracy to overthrow the United States government was allegedly concocted in 1983 at the Aryan Nations church in northern Idaho. "The jurisdiction question is one of the most important," Hofmeister said Tuesday. "If nothing happened in Arkansas, how come a grand jury down there returned an indictment?" The trial should be moved to Idaho, Hofmeister said in seeking to question prospective jurors, because of an "atmosphere of hostility and prejudice" against Butler in Arkansas. No date has been set by U.S. District Judge Morris "Buzz" Arnold to hear arguments on the pretrial motions. The judge could rule on them without a hearing. The trial had been set for July 6, but was indefinitely postponed because of a legal problem involving three of the defendants. Michael Fitzhugh, U.S. Attorney in Arkansas, has said he doesn't want to proceed with the trial until all 14 defendants can be tried together. Butler's defense motions cite various arguments against the government's case. For example, they allege the grand jury that returned the sedition indictment was misled and deceived by hearsay from witnesses and given "conflicting facts not relevant or material to the charges." For those reasons, a motion says, "grounds may exist for a motion to dismiss the indictment against Butler." Another motion asks the court to order the Department of Justice to disclose the identities of "all informants who are participants in the alleged crimes charged in the indictment." It also seeks disclosure of any promises of immunity from prosecution or leniency to cooperating witnesses. Hofmeister noted that Butler is alleged to have taken part in only seven of the 125 acts that were part of the alleged conspiracy, and is named in only one of four counts in the indictment. Butler's accompanying affidavit noted that Fort Smith is 2,000 miles from his home near Hayden Lake. No matter the trial's outcome, Butler said, the resulting expenses "will totally absorb" all resources he and his wife have accumulated. Last page !


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