Four animal-rights protesters pleaded not guilty Thursday in federal court to charges that they harassed and threatened researchers at UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz, saying they had been exercising their free-speech rights.
At issue for the activists and their attorneys is the constitutionality of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, which makes it a federal crime to interfere with the operations of an animal enterprise through force, violence or threats while placing a person in a “reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury.” The law carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.
More in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Meanwhile federal prosecutors are seeking a reduced sentence for convicted eco-terrorist Ian Wallace. He admitted his involvement in vandalizing vehicles and an arson. But he subsequently helped federal authorities crack an “attack on trees” in Wisconsin.
More from the Seattle Times.