Today, filmmaker Deia Schlosberg’s footage from the action was admitted into evidence. The prosecution’s choice of video was strange. They ran a sustained shot with nary a sound for twenty minutes. Nothing but scene of road, barren rock, and dirt field. Near the end Michael and Sam walk by. The jury tries to keep necks craned dutifully towards the screen. Staring uncomfortably, one juror scratched his head, another looks perplexed at the prosecution, another drops their head into a ready nap position.
The attorneys are adversarial. The jury was excused several times for legal rigamarole. After lunch, things got hot when the arresting officer gave testimony. The prosecution tried to paint alarm by asking the witness about his experience with a pipeline explosion he responded to in Minnesota, 2007. Relevance?
“Crude oil and flames were shooting 200 ft in the air, two burned in that explosion, I went to local residents to evacuate them from their homes,” he reported while looking meaningfully to jurors. Lawyers objected, the jury was removed and quick research on part of the Civil Disobedience Center’s Lauren Regan revealed that in fact, the federal Department of Transportation fined Enbridge $2.4 million dollars for failure to safely maintain pipelines.
After the defense threatened to request a mistrial, the judge brings two options back to the defense, either cross examine the witness to reveal the company’s fault or deliver a curative instruction to the jury, “this incident has no relation or similarity to what happened in Pembina County. The explosion in Minnesota was caused by the company itself.” And the defense chose the latter.
The arresting officer’s testimony continues, describing the contents of Sam’s pockets at arrest: rocks, cords, batteries and things like that. And we imagine Sam, walking around North Dakota in the gray, windy, gorgeous starkness picking up the prettiest stones.
Tomorrow we anticipate a decision on whether or not expert testimony is allowed, and we anticipate Michael and Sam taking the stand.
Love and Gratitude for your support,
P.S. We’ll keep you posted onFacebook,@ClimateDA, andwww.shutitdown.today. Please share and spread the story. If you are attending trial, the judge does not want us to go in and out of court during testimony. Please only get up in the courtroom during breaks.