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Matt DeHart’s parents comment ahead of today’s sentencing

Paul and Leann DeHart have commented on their son’s upcoming sentencing today in Nashville, TN:

We are hopeful that the hearing will go as Matt’s legal team expects with no surprises. Our hearts are with Matt as he endures another governmental confrontation. His path ahead will be difficult. He remains strong in spirit. We are all thankful for the support of so very many who have followed his case and genuinely care for Matt and our family. This is not the end.

No matter the outcome of today’s hearing, in which Matt is expected to be sentenced to seven and a half years in jail, Matt will need our love and support. Please visit the ‘how you can help‘ section for information on the different ways you can support Matt through this difficult time.

 

The Case Against Matt DeHart, by Bethany Horne

Matthew DeHart woke up scared, disoriented and strapped to a gurney in the back of an ambulance. It was shortly after midnight, August 7, 2010. His heart was beating fast, and he was trembling. What had happened to him? Where was he going? His phone, keys and wallet were no longer in his pockets, and he was surrounded by strangers—the paramedics who’d arrived in the ambulance. And guards from a jail in Maine.

DeHart was rolled into an emergency room in Bangor, where a doctor made these notes: “26-year-old white male brought in in custody of Penobscot County Jail correctional officers.… Patient has multiple rambling complaints…restless and agitated, fairly tremulous as well as tachycardic. He reports [he is incarcerated] because Homeland Security is accusing him as well as several associates of his of espionage…hypomanic during examination.… He appears to be paranoid and delusional with an idea of the FBI monitoring him.”

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Matt DeHart sentencing scheduled for 22 February in Tennessee

Former Air National Guard intelligence analyst and alleged WikiLeaks and Anonymous courier Matt DeHart, cornered by the US government into a plea deal under the threat of 40 years in jail, will be sentenced on 22 February 2016, at 11:30 CST at the Nashville, TN Federal Court House.

Matt is expected to be sentenced to what the government recommends, which under the plea deal will be a total of seven and a half years — minus his three and a half years of time served, though as Matt’s lawyer Tor Ekeland says, “The court is not bound by the recommendations of the government and can impose any sentence it wishes up to the statutory maximum. Customarily, however, courts sentence according to the parameters of a plea agreement between the government and defendant.”

See our report on Matt’s plea deal here and see a timeline and full accounting of Matt’s story here.

Government threatens 40 years in jail; Matt DeHart forced into plea deal

Matt DeHart’s long saga of government persecution, including FBI torture, refused asylum, and seized property, continues today as Matt has been cornered into taking a plea agreement to avoid a decades-long prison sentence. The deal, in which the government would recommend Matt be sentenced to a total of seven and a half years — minus his three and a half years of time served — was Matt’s only hope to prevent something even worse: the government’s initial recommendation of forty years in jail or the charges’ maximum, of seventy years and a half-million-dollar fine.

Under the deal, Matt would have to plead guilty to receiving teen “pornography,” consisting of messages dated from 2008 that the US government decided to charge years later after they became aware that Matt discovered sensitive military files had been uploaded to a server he ran and that he was a WikiLeaks and Anonymous supporter.

Matt could fight the charges in court, but he has already endured substantial abuse, and the judge has sided with the government at nearly every turn. Most recently, Matt’s judge denied a motion to dismiss charges based on a vindictive prosecution, despite the government’s overreach and lengthy delays. Furthermore, the federal judicial system is stacked against defendants: The conviction rate in federal criminal trials is 93%.

Matt’s father, Paul DeHart, has cited Aaron Swartz’s case as a turning point in the family’s fear of egregious prosecution. Swartz committed suicide after facing more than 50 years in jail for rapidly downloading publicly available JSTOR documents. Similarly, in Matt’s case, the government threatened an extremely long prison sentence of several decades — a highly disproportionate sentence for the allegations against him.

The government is likely agreeing to this deal in order to be done with Matt DeHart’s case, to prevent a drawn-out trial in which Matt’s political activity, the files he unearthed and the treatment he endured could come to light.

This deal is not the end of the road: as Matt’s lawyer Tor Ekeland says, “The court is not bound by the recommendations of the government and can impose any sentence it wishes up to the statutory maximum. Customarily, however, courts sentence according to the parameters of a plea agreement between the government and defendant.”

Further, we have to prevent future retaliation, like the solitary confinement suffered by Barrett Brown, Chelsea Manning and Jeremy Hammond. Matt has already been tortured during interrogation and imprisoned for years before trial. We must keep Matt’s sentencing in the public eye as only significant scrutiny will prevent further abuse and ensure as fair a trial as possible.

See the full plea deal below:

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Pack the court for Matt DeHart!

After much frustration, delay, and a strong of endless legal battles, Matt DeHart will finally have his day in court.

His trial, which was originally scheduled to start on 15 September 2015, has been pushed back and will now be held in December 2015.

WHEN:
8 December 2015, 9:00 AM

WHERE:
US Federal Court for the Middle District of Tennessee
Courtroom of Judge Aleta A. Trauger, Room 873
801 Broadway
Nashville, TN 37203

THINGS TO REMEMBER:

  • Consider arriving 30 – 45 minutes ahead of when court is scheduled to start. You will need to submit to security screening before you are allowed inside the courthouse, and you want to make sure you are there for the start of the hearing.
  • You will be made to pass through a metal detector before you enter the building, and your belongings must pass through an x-ray machine. Dress and pack accordingly.
  • You will most likely be made to surrender any electronic devices before entering the courtroom. This includes cell phones, laptops, tablets, cameras, mp3 players, devices capable of recording video or audio, etc. For your own privacy and security, consider password protecting them, removing SIM or memory cards, or just not bringing them at all.

Court appearances can be highly stressful, and friendly faces and supportive smiles would be appreciated by both Matt and his family. If you are in the area, please consider attending to support Matt as he defends himself against these bogus charges.

RSVP HERE!

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Government drops one count against Matt DeHart

On Friday, Matt DeHart’s attorney Tor Ekeland tweeted that the government has moved to dismiss its second count against Matt.

As the superseding indictment states, count 2 alleges, that Matt “knowingly shipped and transported” child pornography on or about 23 January 2008.

superseding indictment count 2

Matt’s lawyers have contested these allegations, in part when arguing for a motion to compel discovery items, chiefly contending that these charges are a red herring to disguise the government’s pursuit of Matt’s involvement with WikiLeaks and Anonymous. The FBI conceded that during its multi-day interrogation of Matt, they asked him about an “espionage” matter — not about teen pornography.

Ekeland said, “1 down, 3 to go,” referring to the three remaining counts against DeHart, two of which relate to the teen porn allegations while the last count is for failure to appear for a Status Conference and Detention Review hearing.

Matt’s trial is scheduled to begin on 8 December 2015.

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Computer experts to review files in Nashville: funds needed urgently

Matt DeHart has already endured egregious abuse while seeking asylum from US persecution. At the Canada/US border, FBI agents detained him and tortured him during lengthy interrogation over “espionage” matters, asking him nothing about the allegations against him. It is therefore even more imperative than it would be otherwise that we ensure Matt receives a fair trial. The trial is scheduled to begin 15 September; before that, Matt’s lawyers must examine documents that the government wants to use as evidence against him.

Matt’s legal team is sending computer forensics experts to Nashville, TN, to review potential discovery documents, early next month. Matt’s lawyer Tor Ekeland explains the process:

On August 5-7, 2015, Brady Myers of TEPC and Jeremy Wunsch of Lucidata will sit with Matt DeHart in a room in the United States Attorney’s Office in Nashville, Tennessee to forensically review the government’s alleged computer evidence. Because the allegations in this case involve child pornography, the defense has to review the government’s evidence on site at the United States Attorney’s Office and the forensic reviewers will be flying in from Minneapolis and New York. This will be an intensive, technical, forensic review and was scheduled in response to the defense’s Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 16 Discovery letter seeking clarification as to the authenticity, chain of custody, and whereabouts of the computer evidence in Matt’s case. This is the first time that this type of review will have been done in this case. The first time the present defense reviewed the government’s computer evidence it was unable to properly evaluate it due to a number of factors such as a lack of proper software being installed on the government’s computers, the government has told us that all these issues will be taken care of for this coming forensic review session.

These experts are highly experienced, and able to testify in court, but computer forensic review is expensive: the process will cost roughly $15,000 — which Matt doesn’t have. This is just one portion of what will be an expensive trial, so Matt needs all the help he can get, as soon as he can get it. Please contribute what you can to give him the best defense available.

Donate to Matt’s fund here.

Matt DeHart turns 31 in jail, show your support!

MDH Jail Support_CFMatt DeHart turns 31 today while awaiting trial in Warren County Regional Jail, in Bowling Green, KY. He was arrested on years-old teen porn charges, though when questioned by FBI agents at the US/Canada border, he was asked solely about Anonymous, WikiLeaks and his military unit, and the FBI’s own report confirms that they held him for an “espionage” matter.

Now that more and more people know about Matt’s case and the injustice he’s already endured, supporters have called for birthday cards, care packages and donations to his legal defence fund (already incurring serious costs), for his 31st birthday. Click the image at right for more information about what to send, and how.

Matt’s trial is currently set for 15 September 2015 — please support him any way that you can!

 

New visual timeline of Matt DeHart’s story

We are excited to introduce a new visual timeline of Matt DeHart’s story thus far, from his early involvement in World of Warcraft and Anonymous through his recently announced trial date. Scroll and click through the timeline below or view it over at Matt’s Story page:

Trial Date Set For United States v. Matt DeHart

During a status conference held at the US District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Judge Aleta A. Trauger set a trial date for September 15, 2015.

Pretrial motions are to be filed by July 10, 2015, with responses due by August 7, 2015.

With the trial date now set, we desperately need to raise funds to help with the costs of mounting Matt’s defense.

Donate here.