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Carrie Feldman Won't Testify in 2004 UI Animal Rights Case

A Minnesota woman believes she will face jail time for refusing to testify about a 2004 animal rights vandalism case at University of Iowa, according to a Web site called Support Carrie.

Carrie Feldman, 20, an activist from Minneapolis, said after being subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury on Oct. 15 in Davenport, she read a statement on that day declaring she would not testify, Feldman stated on the Web site. Feldman believes the jury is investigating the 2004 UI case and she is a target of that investigation, she stated on the Web site.

"Although the prosecutor has still not been forthcoming as to what they are investigating me for, I now feel confident in assuming that they are looking into an (Animal Liberation Front) action that occurred at the (UI) in 2004. Many different signs, including a question from one of the jurors, have indicated this," Feldman stated on the Web site.

A phone number for Feldman was not listed, and she did not immediately return a message left for her through the Web site. Officials from UI and the FBI office in Cedar Rapids, whom UI is working with in the case, declined comment. Mike Kitsmiller, a supervisory special agent at the Cedar Rapids FBI office, said there would be no public information about a federal grand jury case.

Feldman is supposed to appear before the jury again on Nov. 17, and said she will again refuse to testify, she stated on the Web site.

"It is likely that at this time I will be held in contempt of court for continuing to remain silent, and could face jail time up to the length of the grand jury -- it convenes for 12 months total, which leaves 11 remaining after my November appearance," she stated on the Web site.

Because she believes she is a target of the investigation, she will invoke her Fifth Amendment right that protects against self-incrimination, she stated on the Web site.

A worldwide animal rights group called Animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility for the vandalism. Vandals broke into Spence Labs and the east wing of Seashore Hall, home of the UI psychology department, where animals are used for research. They stole more than 400 research mice and rats, damaged 30 computers and spilled chemicals. Damage was estimated at $450,000.

 

 

Young Woman: I'M Grand Jury's Target: Records Sought of School Attendance
The Gazette - Cedar Rapids, Iowa October 27, 2009

By Diane Heldt, The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Oct. 27--IOWA CITY -- A federal grand jury in Iowa is looking into an animal-rights-related break-in and vandalism at the University of Iowa in 2004, said a Minneapolis woman who believes she is a target of the inquiry.

Carrie Feldman, a 20year-old activist, said she was called to testify this month before a grand jury in Davenport. Feldman blogged about the subpoena and her subsequent appearance Oct. 15 at the federal courthouse.

Feldman, a 15-year-old high school sophomore in Minneapolis at the time of the incident, denies involvement in the crime.

"The assertion by the prosecutor that I may be a target of this investigation is ridiculous," she said by e-mail. "I believe that I am being targeted because of my political activity and beliefs, not my involvement in any crime." UI Police said the break-in remains an active investigation and referred inquiries to the FBI. Carrie Sawicki, FBI spokeswoman in Omaha, Neb., said officials cannot comment, because it is an ongoing investigation.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa would not confirm or deny information about grand jury proceedings. Grand juries deliberate in private and determine if there is enough evidence to indict a person.

Feldman appeared Oct. 15 but refused to testify, invoking her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. She was subpoenaed to reappear Nov. 17, but Feldman said she will refuse to testify again.

She could be held in contempt of court.

On her blog at www.supportcarrie.word press.com , Feldman posted her statement to the grand jury and said grand juries undercut basic rights by denying access to counsel and coercing testimony. They are used to investigate and intimidate those who express dissent, she said.

Feldman told The Gazette neither she nor her lawyer has been told what the grand jury is investigating.

Questions from jury members lead her to believe, however, it is an inquiry into the 2004 breakin at UI's Seashore Hall and Spence Laboratories, which UI officials said caused about $450,000 indamage to equipment and the theft of more than 400 rodents used in psychology research. Activists claiming affiliation with the Animal Liberation Front claimed credit.

Jurors asked if she was ever a UI student, and officials requested her high school attendance records from the time, she said.

Her appearance in Davenport was her first visit to Iowa, other than driving through briefly with family as a child, Feldman said. She said she is an outspoken supporter of animal rights and environmental protection.

"It is common for aboveground activists to be the targets of repression and intimidation when the government is failing to find the people who have actually carried out these actions," shesaid in the e-mail. The UI incident involved at least four masked people. An FBI sketch showed a female in her late teens to early 20s with fair skin and darkhair.

Ann McGlynn of the Quad City Times contributed to this article.

Contact the writer: (319) 3393158 or diane.heldt@gazcomm.com

 

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