North Dakota Trial Starts October 2nd

Michael Foster knew what he had to do last October when he turned the valve that shut off the Keystone pipeline in North Dakota: "Stop the poison." 

Next Monday, October 2nd, Michael will head to trial in Cavalier, North Dakota to make exactly that point: that he had no reasonable alternative to address the magnitude of the climate crisis, and as a conscientious citizen he was duty-bound to take the most appropriate action. Sam Jessup, who was Michael's support person in North Dakota, is headed to trial as well.

Michael is facing a raft of charges: criminal mischief, criminal conspiracy to commit criminal mischief, reckless endangerment (all felonies) and criminal trespass (a misdemeanor). These charges carry maximum possible jail time of 22 years. Sam is charged with conspiracy trespass and conspiracy to commit criminal mischief, one felony and one misdemeanor, which would have a total maximum possible sentence of 11 years.

It's unlikely they'll get anything near the maximum sentences, but we're still nervous: this is North Dakota; a state which has been systematically trying to criminalize dissent since civil disobedience began at Standing Rock last summer. Michael and Sam are also expecting to be able to do something that Ken was not able to do in his trial: call expert witnesses to testify. We aren't ready to announce Michael and Sam's strategy or witnesses yet, but stay tuned - we are hopeful that this trial is going to cover some new ground.

Follow along on Twitter @ClimateDA, using #ClimateTrial and #ValveTurners for live-tweeting and on Facebook where we'll be doing LIVE video updates outside of the court house and written recaps throughout the days.

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