DeChristopher Sentenced to Two Years in Prison

DeChristopher Sentenced to Two Years in Prison

TRNN Replay of our earlier interview with Tim DeChristopher -   June 21, 2011
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here


Share to Facebook Share to Twitter

Thank you, The Real News does an excellent job - FedupwithR
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


DeChristopher Sentenced to Two Years in PrisonMALAK BEHROUZNAMI, JOURNALIST, TRNN: On April 1, 2009, Tim DeChristopher, also known as Bidder 70, was indicted on two felony counts for his participation during a US Bureau of Land Management gas and oil lease auction that took place December 19, 2008, in Salt Lake City. DeChristopher is being accused of disrupting the auction by purchasing 22,000 of 130,000 bids in an attempt to save the land from gas and oil development. The bids comprise a total of $1.7 million, which DeChristopher is unable to pay for.

TIM DECHRISTOPHER, ACTIVIST, PEACEFULUPRISING.ORG: Well, I showed up at the auction, which was very controversial because there was a lot of concerns about the legitimacy of the auction. It was the very last one of the Bush administration. They were auctioning off huge tracts of land outside of Arches and Canyonlands National Park for oil and gas development. So I walked in, and they asked me if I wanted to be a bidder, and so I said yes and ended up with a bidder paddle and then got inside and saw an opportunity to make a really serious stand against this auction. So I started bidding first to drive up the prices, and then actually winning parcels. And I ended up winning 14 parcels before they stopped the auction and took me out and interrogated me at that point.

BEHROUZNAMI: On January 17, 2009, the Bureau of Land Management was found to be at fault for violating environmental protection laws concerning air quality and historic preservation. Federal Judge Ricardo Urbina temporarily froze the sale of 77 parcels. On February 4, 2009, the Obama administration's interior secretary, Ken Salazar, pulled the 77 leases, which included DeChristopher's bids.

DECHRISTOPHER: There were several issues involved in this auction. Probably the one that's gotten the most attention was just the destruction of our national heritage. These were pristine lands right outside of Arches and Canyonlands national parks. And I think a bigger factor is the threat to our climate that's associated with this drill now, think later mentality that is posing a massive threat to our future. And then the other issue involved in it is the lack of a democratic and transparent process, where the BLM wasn't following their own rules in holding this auction. And that's really the reason that it was overturned later on is that the government admitted that the BLM hadn't done an adequate environmental impact statement, they hadn't weighed the consequences, they hadn't discussed things with other government agencies the way they were supposed to. And it also later turned out that the BLM was in violation of a law that went into effect in 2001 requiring them to weigh the impacts of climate change with any decision like this that they make.

BEHROUZNAMI: DeChristopher and his legal team were not permitted to admit this information as evidence during his trial. Also omitted from the trial was the fact that DeChristopher had fundraised $100,000 for the initial payment of $45,000 on the land. In March 2010, DeChristopher's attorneys made a motion to prosecutors requesting more documents on other bidders who had defaulted on their payments. But District Judge Dee Benson didn't push prosecutors to provide the files.

DECHRISTOPHER: You know, there are certainly a lot of people that have talked about the fact that I'm facing ten years and, you know, Tony Hayward and the others from BP haven't faced any consequences [incompr.] action. Don Blankenship and the others responsible for the Big Branch mining disaster that killed 29 miners in West Virginia last year. They're not facing anything. You know, the Halliburton executives who have scammed the United States government and played a role in our wars and that sort of thing aren't facing anything. And a lot of people have talked to me about that and said it doesn't make sense. And I think that in a certain way it does actually make sense that the legal system is a tool of those in power, and so it's going to be used to protect their power. So what I was doing was threatening their power or challenging their power. And so it makes sense that they're going to use that legal system against me. We shouldn't expect those in power to use the legal system against themselves, because it's their tool and they control it. If we want to hold those people accountable for their crimes, there have to be other ways to do it. That's the job of the citizen, not the job of the legal system, because it's really just the tool of those in power.

BEHROUZNAMI: DeChristopher faces up to ten years in prison and is currently awaiting his sentencing by a judge, which will take place June 23. This is Malak Behrouznami for The Real News Network.

End of Transcript

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at


Latest Stories

MSF Hospital Targeted by Afghan Government Forces in July
Should Canadians Vote Strategically to Defeat Harper?
With Homicides at Record Pace, City Plans Three Day Trial for Freddie Gray Protester
At the Center of a Storm - Irvin Jim, General Secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa on RAI (1/3)
MSF Demands War Crime Probe in Afghanistan
Privatization, Charters & High-Stakes Tests: Arne Duncan's Legacy
Another Suspicious Death Raises More Concerns About Black Life Behind Bars
US Ruling Circles Split On Use of Jihadists in Syria
Saudi Arabia Silences UN Human Rights Council Over Its War Crimes in Yemen (2/2)
The Politics of Politics: Grace Lee Boggs Remembered
Greg Grandin: Empire and Resistance
Pillaging the Public Treasury - David Cay Johnston on Reality Asserts Itself (4/4)
Dependency on Warlords Led to U.S. Attack on MSF Afghan Hospital
Saudi Arabia Silences UN Human Rights Council Over Its War Crimes in Yemen (1/2)
Baltimore Police Commissioner Stunned by Poverty in Baltimore
The House Freedom Caucus: Tea Party 2.0 Behind Boehner's Resignation
The Revolutionary Age
What Washington Isn't Saying About the TPP 'Victory'
Do the Taliban represent the Pashtuns?
The Deep State and the Power of Billionaires - David Cay Johnston on Reality Asserts Itself (3/4)
GMO Anti-Labeling Law Heads to Senate After House Approval
Inter-Imperial Feuds and the Lost Revolution in Syria (2/2)
LAPD Infiltrators and Agents Provocateurs Targeted Leftists and Panthers - David Cay Johnston on Reality Asserts Itself (2/4)
The Syrian Civil War and Big Power Rivalry
Reports Expose Zionists Stifling Dissent on US Campuses
Evolution of A Black Panther (2/2)
The Global African: Alicia Garza on BLM & Oprah's Diamond Controversy
Taking from the Many to Give to the Few - David Cay Johnston on Reality Asserts Itself (1/4)
The Real House of Saud - Saudi Arabia's Oil-For-Tyranny
Is There a Path Forward for Baltimore After Freddie Gray?, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting