Friday, March 19, 2010

After four months, Minneapolis activist released from Iowa jail


After four months, Minneapolis activist released from Iowa jail

Carrie Feldman, 20, was jailed in November for refusing to testify about a 2004 break-in at the University of Iowa

By ABBY SIMONS, Star Tribune
http://www.startribune.com/local/88470962.html?page=1&c=y

Last update: March 18, 2010 - 4:56 PM

An animal rights activist jailed four months for refusing to testify about a break-in at a University of Iowa laboratory has been released.

A judge in Davenport, Iowa, signed an order Thursday to release Carrie Feldman after the U.S. Attorney for that region informed the court that her grand jury testimony was "no longer necessary the public interest" and asked that she no longer be held in civil contempt of court, said her attorney, Jordan Kushner.

No further explanation was given for Feldman's release. Friends and family members were expected to pick her up Thursday.

A call to U.S. Attorney Clifford Cronk in Davenport was not immediately returned.

Feldman, 20, of Minneapolis, was jailed in Iowa on Nov. 17 for refusing to appear before a grand jury that was looking into the November 2004 break-in. The Animal Liberation Front released video of themselves entering the lab, taking hundreds of rats and mice, smashing computers and dumping chemicals. Damages totaled $450,000.

Five years later, authorities subpoenaed Feldman and her former boyfriend, Scott DeMuth, 22, also of Minneapolis. Both were jailed for refusing to testify, and a grand jury later indicted DeMuth for animal enterprise terrorism. Feldman, who was 15 at the time of the break-in, said she knows nothing about what happened. DeMuth says he's innocent.

Judges denied two appeals for Feldman's release before Cronk's office asked that she be released.

"My belief is this is the end of this particular matter for her," said Feldman's attorney, Bruce Nestor.

On Monday, FBI agents raided a Salt Lake City, Utah, house where some animal rights activists were purported to live. The agents were acting on a search warrant issued in the same southern district of Iowa where Feldman was held and DeMuth was charged. The warrant authorized a search for computers, photographs, cell phones and documents "relating to animal enterprise terrorism."

Kushner said it's unclear whether information gathered in that search led to Feldman's release.

Abby Simons • 612-673-4921


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