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Tim DeChristopher, Bidder 70, Public Trial of The Climate Trial of Tim DeChristopher, AKA Bidder 70

Can the quiet 27-year-old economics student who disrupted a multi-million dollar oil and gas auction get a fair trial?

Awhile back we interviewed Tim DeChristopher, aka Bidder 70, the quiet, 27-year-old economics student who disrupted a multi-million dollar Bureau of Land Management oil and gas lease auction when he simply walked in and started bidding. (And who inspired me immensely with his simple guiding credo to "be the carbon tax.") His actions were deemed worthy of two felony counts (with 10 years and $750,000 in fines the potential punishment), but his trial has been repeatedly delayed, eight times now, by the courts.


The latest date announced by the courts is February 28, 2011. But in the meantime, impatient allies of the DeChristopher cause are holding a public "Climate Trial" in Salt Lake City this Friday. Calling it "the trial we should be having," organizers are planning on turning the tables and putting the polluters on trial, since the DeChristopher legal team's use of the necessity (or "choice of evils") defense was denied.

DeChristopher's organization, Peaceful Uprising, emailed today:

The feds won't give Tim DeChristopher a fair trial. They've blocked his defense and delayed the trial again and again for two years (and counting.) So we are going to hold the trial ourselves, and get to the bottom of the climate crisis. We will uncover the truth of our predicament, and leave with a clear sense of what we need to do to defend a livable future.

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Also on the trial's website:

The Justice Department is putting Tim DeChristopher on trial for blocking an illegal federal oil and gas auction. This absurdity is heightened by the judge’s subsequent ruling, legally prohibiting Tim from telling the jury his reasons for doing what he did. Even though the judge is severely restricting what Tim can say, the government continues to delay the trial, denying Tim justice.

The oil industry might not want us to have this trial, but we do.

“The Climate Trial” will take place November 5th, 2010, with or without the court. This trial is not just about Tim; it’s about holding the real criminals accountable. Join us—you’ll be the jury—deciding where the responsibility lies for passing on a healthy world to our children.

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If I were anywhere near Salt Lake City (or had any carbon-free option for getting there), I would be there on Friday. We'll post anything we hear from the event, and are wishing DeChristopher the best in his eventual trial.

Photo by Cliff Lyon, used with permission.