While being sentenced for my refusal to testify at a grand jury allegedly
investigating local underground animal rights actions in Utah. It was
announced by the prosecution that they believed I still had information on
local underground animal liberation activities. They stated that they
believed I was a key witness and that I had released an email communication,
to a news organization, about a mink farm raid that had occurred at the
McMullin mink farm, hours before police or the farm itself knew about the
action. For that reason they believed that my resistance was more than just
an act of civil disobedience against tactics of the government that I
thought were obtrusive and that impinged upon my rights.
This statement obviously shocked me. This is the first time I had heard them
say anything about me directly having emailed a news organization. It is
public record that while in the grand jury I was asked my email address, as
well as a list of additional email addresses and if they belonged to me, I
was also asked if I had sent emails from them, these emails were “Jofirstname.lastname@example.org
I of course refused to answer on the basis that I believe grand juries to be
abusive, archaic, and unjust and that they violate my rights as a citizen.
We had challenged the government to provide information regarding the
questions they asked about emails, because the questions asked may have
involved some illegal electronic, telephonic, or wire surveillance, if they
weren’t then they needed to legally provide the source behind their absurd
questions. Our thought process here was to call them out on their bluff, and
admit that the questions they were asking were not relevant and not based in
any solid fact regarding any criminal activities and that they were being
used to harass and intimidate as opposed to actually investigate.
I haven’t had AOL in maybe 10+ years, when I did I was still a young kid and
I believe my email address was “JordanWCW1@aol.com
or something similar, because of course “World Championship Wrestling” was
the most important thing at that time in my life. Also, to be able to obtain
the email address “Joemail@example.com
was impossible as “~” isn’t a valid email character and “Jordan@aol.com
was also impossible as it was a common name and highly unlikely that I would
It is also public record that when called to testify the prosecution stated
that they had put a “trap and trace” and a “pen registry” on my phone, but
nothing involving emails. When asked where they received the email
addresses, they responded that it came from “K.U.T.V. News” and that they
had received it in an email on the day of the mink farm raid. I will be
honest, I didn’t really think too much of it at the time, I was more
surprised by the fact that they just admitted to having a tap on my cell
So, at sentencing I was obviously shocked when they brought it up again, I
went back through my discovery to find an unsealed document discussing the
matter. It was only 3 pages in length. It describes a comment form being
filled out on the “contact us” section of the “KUTV news” website “www.kutv.com
Written on the form under “NAME:” was “Jordan”, “CITY:” was left blank,
“EMAIL:” was listed as “Jofirstname.lastname@example.org
and “PHONE NUMBER:” was also left blank. Under “MESSAGE:” this was written,
“The animal liberation front liberated 300 mink from the mcmullin mink
farm. Monday Night/tuesday morning. It is located just off of 1540 wand
[sic] 10400 s. I heard these rumors and went around that area and there
are mink running around inthe [sic] fields. They look alot [sic]
It then shows that “KUTV news” had forwarded this communication to “Lindsey
McMullin” who is the owner of the McMullin Mink Farm. McMullin then
forwarded the communication to the notorious “Teresa Platt” of the Fur
Commission USA, who forwarded it to the FBI.
You can view all 3 pages HERE
Reading this my mind was completely blown. I had always thought the
government had no real basis for targeting me. As I have said from the
beginning of the investigation into the 2008 mink farm raids in Utah, I have
no knowledge of any underground animal rights activities. But, now things
were starting to make sense. That simple statement that was released to the
media is the reason the government considers me a key witness. A statement
that was allegedly released before the police or even the mink farm knew it
had been raided.
I continued reading to find that another Jordan had been visited by the FBI
briefly, but they lost interest. I had been really active with the Animal
Defense League of Salt Lake City at that time. As one of the core members
that helped start ADL back up in Utah, I was already on the radar. Some
fellow Utah activists and myself had recently been cited and detained in the
neighborhood of a University of Utah vivisectionist during some neighborhood
outreach. Something that four of us are still appealing, with all of our
other non-pleading co-defendants having already won. Armed with only a name
and a fake email. It was probably only a logical jump in their mind to go
after me and consider me their prime suspect (at the time).
The FBI decided to first visit my parents house. Asking my dad if he had
seen me with breeding cards or heard about anything I had done recently. My
dad told them that I didn’t live with them and unfortunately provided them
with my work and house address. On a side note, we should all inform our
non-activist family and friends of their rights. They don’t need to speak to
the FBI or let them in their homes anymore than we do. This might be
considered basic knowledge to us, but not everyone involved in our lives
knows this. My parents now realize this, I just wish I had told them
earlier. It wasn’t until THE
FBI CAME INTO MY WORK AND I TOLD THEM TO LEAVE
that my life started to
I was visited by the FBI only a few days after the local raids had happened.
I was told by my manager that some people needed to talk to me, I had
recently been promoted and corporate was at the store that day, so I assumed
they just wanted to talk/congratulate me on my promotion. When I entered the
room I was met with 2 agents who identified themselves as Special Agent
Knapp and Replogle, they told me they needed to ask me some questions, I
asked if I was being detained or arrested, they didn’t answer they just
continued trying to ask questions. This was of course my first time ever
dealing with the FBI, they are a different breed than cops, they know just
what to say to make you stay. They present an authority and assertion that
leaves you unsure. I told them I needed to talk to my lawyer, I called him
and he was unavailable. Even when calling my lawyer, I was told to use their
phone, I of course declined and used my own, but when I went to leave the
room to talk with my lawyer in private, they told me to sit down with such
an assertion that I did so.
I finally left the room myself after it was established that I wasn’t being
detained or arrested, this wasn’t a verbal establishment, in fact it was the
opposite, I asked and they never answered. They are obligated to answer this
question only if they are detaining or arresting you, if they aren’t, they
don’t need to answer it. This is one way they can get you to stick around,
by avoiding the question and not answering it. This is also something we
should all know and something we all have the right to do. If they aren’t
detaining/arresting you, then you don’t have to stick around.
As I was leaving the room, the FBI tailed behind me, telling me at a range
everyone in the store could hear, customers, management, and corporate (who
was unfortunately there at the time), that I was making a bad choice in not
answering their questions and that they were going to subpoena me to a grand
jury. This is when I asked them to leave the store and that they were not
welcome back as customers, because I won’t tolerate their harassment. It was
in my authority to tell customers to leave the store. Without a
warrant/subpoena police and FBI are just citizens, if in a position you have
the right to tell them to leave and ban them if they are harassing you. I of
course had to explain this to management and corporate, but they ultimately
agreed with my decision.
It was nearly 6 months before they returned. During this time, I was
receiving unrelated harassment most likely from other unrelated entities in
the animal industry. I received a package in the mail containing a
decapitated rats head, I was constantly awoken in the middle of the night
with spotlights shining through my windows, loud noises and cars squealing
off in the distance afterward. This was a unique time in my life as an
activist. Dealing with these things, I had forgotten completely about the
threat of a grand jury subpoena.
However, they followed through with their threat. The same 2 agents returned
to my work with a subpoena, this was my first
, even so, I could tell it was not filled out properly and had
white out smeared over areas of it. Honestly, it looked illegitimate and
like a joke. I called the Eco-Law fraction of the National Lawyers Guild and
was put in touch with someone who eventually became my first attorney.
He helped me develop a motion to file pro se as the subpoena was invalid and
deficient. I still appeared before the grand jury and presented the
prosecution with my motion. After that, it is public record that I refused
to swear oath or answer any question simply responding with “no comment”. I
did this because the motion was deficient. The grand jury was dismissed and
I walked out of the grand jury room.
The next week I was visited again, however this time by 7 FBI agents and the
United States Deputy Marshall, he was there to verify that the subpoena was
properly filled out, and it was.
I returned to the grand jury, this time swearing oath, and providing my name
and age. It is public record that I again refused to answer any questions.
The Judge was then called to the Grand Jury room and ordered that I would be
in contempt if I refused to answer any more questions without a valid
privileged. She was dismissed and the Grand Jury was resumed. I then began
to invoke my 5th amendment right against self-incrimination. The
grand jury was dismissed and I was called to a contempt of court hearing.
We asked for more time to present our arguments and returned about a week
later. It was determined I was in civil contempt of the court and I was
sentenced to coercive custody until i was willing to cure myself of my
contempt. I was also granted immunity and sent to the Salt Lake County Jail.
I was subpoenaed one more time a week after that hearing and returned, this
time i was refused the right to talk with my lawyer in private, I was in US
Marshall Custody and they would not allow me to have a private conversation
with my attorney. The prosecutor decided to dismiss the grand jury and i was
sent back to the jail. I was transferred to a Cache County Federal Holding
Facility the next day.
We filed a Grumbles motion, but it was denied on the grounds that I had
knowledge about Grumbles motions that pre-dated my grand jury appearance and
also that I hoped that I would get out on a grumbles motion and that by
knowing my rights and having hope I would get out on that motion, I was not
being fully coerced.
I spent nearly 4 months in federal custody until finally the grand jury term
expired. However before being released, I was informed that the grand jury
had indicted me and charged me with Criminal contempt of court. I was then
released on pretrial and have been on that since July 2009.
I plead guilty a year later in July 2010 to sui generis criminal contempt of
court for willfully and knowingly refusing to answer questions at a federal
grand jury. The government who was trying to give me 2 years (the same
amount of time and more as the individuals convicted of releasing the mink),
refused to offer me any plea deals.
In November 2010, I was sentenced to 10 months in a federal prison, with 3
years probation upon release. If I serve all 10 months, including the 4 that
I have already served, I will have served 14 months, more time than one of
the individuals convicted of releasing mink, who was recently released early
for good behavior, and slightly less than the other who will also be
released early, next month. We are appealing this sentence.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, December 28th, 2010, I will hopefully be told
the prison in which I am to report. I will then have to transport and
surrender myself to the federal prison I am assigned, by noon, on January 3rd,
2011, which is exactly one week from today. This gives me slightly less than
6 days to get myself to where i need to go.
So why am I going to prison? Because, I was brought into a grand jury
investigation after my name was posted in a communique on a news website. I
find it hard to believe that the government would actually think anyone
would be stupid enough to put their name on a website if they were involved
in anything illegal. As I have said from day one, I have no knowledge, nor
have i ever had any knowledge of illegal underground animal liberation
I just chose to take a stance against an abusive tactic of the government
that is often used against activists to harass and intimidate us, a tactic
that is overzealous and one that impinges upon our rights.