APca 06/17 1626 Butler SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -- The Rev. Richard Butler, who remains under m
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
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
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
Hofmeister said Butler needs to have "sufficient knowledge of
the facts concerning the alleged conspiracy" in order to defend
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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