'Silence Trident' court update
July 31 2000

Ashland, WI

Michael Sprong appeared in Ashland County District Court on Monday, July 31, 2000 to answer the charge of intentional damage to property brought by Ashland County District Attorney Mike Gableman, on behalf of the state of Wisconsin.

photo by Barb Katt

Bonnie was to appear by live video from the Ashland county jail, but did not appear due to a scheduling mix-up on the part of jail staff.

District Judge Robert Eaton presided at the hearing. Judge Eaton confirmed that Urfer and Sprong had received copies of the complaint against them and also confirmed that they waived their right to a preliminary hearing within 20 days. After which, Judge Eaton turned to DA Gableman and asked if the U.S. Attorney's Office in Madison, WI was still considering bringing charges against Urfer and Sprong.

Gableman reported to the judge that in conversation with "a Deputy U.S. Attorney" in Madison he was told that a decision on whether to bring federal charges would be made within 10 days.

Judge Eaton, appearing somewhat impatient with the delay caused by jurisdictional wrangling between the state and federal prosecutors, declared that until a decision was made about who would ultimately prosecute the case against Urfer and Sprong, he would adjourn the hearing.
photo by Barb Katt
Eaton concluded the hearing by ordering the parties to appear in Ashland County district court on August 28, 2000 for a preliminary hearing.

As they await word on whether the case against will go federal, Bonnie remains in jail serving a 60-day sentence for previous ELF trespass actions. Sprong remains out on bond.

The following day, Aug 1 2000, was the arraignment date for the four trespassers who crossed the line in support of 'Silence Trident' in two separate actions, June 25 and July 4. Only Swedish ploughshares activist Annika Spalde appeared. She pled 'no contest' and was sentenced to the usual $212 fine, with 60 days to pay.

For more information, contact Michael Sprong or Beth Preheim, Trident Resistance Network - Midwest, (715) 472-4184.