Y-12 protesters ask federal judge to delay Oct. 10 trial

Megan Rice and Michael R. Walli

Anti-nuclear weapons activists Megan Rice and Michael R. Walli leave U.S. District Court in Knoxville after an Aug. 9 arraignment on charges of trespassing, property depredation, and property destruction at the Y-12 National Security Complex. A third protester, Greg Boertje-Obed, remains jailed in Blount County.

Two anti-nuclear weapons activists arrested in July in a high-security area at the Y-12 National Security Complex have asked a federal judge to delay their trial date.

The protesters now face an Oct. 10 trial before U.S. District Court Judge Thomas W. Phillips in Knoxville.

But in motions filed Wednesday, two of the protesters—Greg Boertje-Obed and Megan Rice—said the evidence in the case is voluminous, and it involves significant and complex issues, including national security and First Amendment issues.

“Additional time will be required to prepare this case for trial,” said Boertje-Obed, who is representing himself with the help of Knoxville attorney Bobby E. Hutson Jr.

Greg Boertje-Obed

Greg Boertje-Obed

Boertje-Obed said he has been unable to finish the investigation and the research necessary to meaningfully respond to the allegations against him. He and Rice and another protester, Michael R. Walli, have been indicted by a federal grand jury on three counts of trespassing, property depredation, and property destruction.

They are accused of sneaking into Y-12 before dawn July 28, cutting through three fences, and setting off alarms before spray-painting slogans and splashing human blood on the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, where bomb-grade uranium is stored.

Rice’s attorney, Knoxville lawyer Francis L. Lloyd Jr., said the case has drawn international media attention.

“As was true in past, similar cases, it presents significant and complex issues for both pretrial litigation and trial, including national security and First Amendment issues, and issues of the legality of nuclear arms under American law, and under international law applicable in the United States,” Lloyd said.

The case requires expert evidence, and lawyers and others across the country have offered help and relevant materials, Lloyd said.

Arguing that he needs more time, Lloyd said he is a solo practitioner who also has to represent other clients with cases pending in federal courts in Knoxville, Greeneville, and the Middle District of Tennessee, and other courts.

“Counsel needs additional time within which to review the significant discovery provided by the government, consider necessary pretrial motions, conduct additional investigation, and prepare for trial,” Lloyd said.

U.S. Magistrate Judge C. Clifford Shirley set several deadlines during an Aug. 9 arraignment hearing, including a Sept. 4 motion cutoff and a Sept. 18 pre-trial conference.

The three defendants face potential penalties of up to 16 years in jail and $600,000 in fines.

Rice, 82, and Walli, 63, were released from the Blount County Corrections Facility earlier this month after promising to follow certain conditions. They must stay off government property, including Y-12, abide by travel restrictions, and appear in court when required. Rice had to surrender her passport, and she and Walli went to live at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in Washington, D.C.

Boertje-Obed, 57, waived his right to a detention hearing during an Aug. 3 court appearance, and he remains jailed in Blount County.

The unprecedented security breach at Y-12 has led to a string of staff changes, a temporary halt in nuclear operations that ended Aug. 15, more security training, and a show cause notice that gives B&W Y-12, the plant’s management and operating contractor, 30 days to explain why its contract should not be terminated.


Join the club!

If you support Oak Ridge Today, please consider becoming a voluntary subscriber. You don't have to subscribe to read our stories, but your contribution will help us grow and improve our coverage.

We currently offer three subscription levels: $5, $10, or $25 per month. We accept payments through PayPal. You may also visit our subscription page for information on other options.

Thank you for your support.

Subscription options

Commenting Guidelines

We welcome comments, but we ask you to follow a few guidelines:

1) Please use your real name, including last name. Please also use a valid e-mail address. We do our best to confirm identities. If we are unable to confirm your identity or your comments don't appear to be posted using a real, full name, your comments may not post or may be removed.
2) Be civil. Don't insult others, attack their character, or get personal.
3) Stick to the issues.
4) No profanity.
5) Keep your comments to a reasonable length and to a reasonable number per article.

We reserve the right to remove any comments that violate these guidelines. Comments from readers posting for the first time may be held for review, and they will not be posted if they violate the guidelines. We urge you to do your best to follow the guidelines if you would like to see your comment posted. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

More information is available here.

More Business News

More Business

More Community News

More Community

More Education News

More Education

More Government News

More Government

More Police and Fire News

Oak Ridge Today

THP: Man injured in December crash dies

Note: This story was updated at 2:41 p.m. Jan. 18. A man injured in a late December accident on Interstate 40 in Roane County died from his injuries, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol. The crash happened on … [Read More...]

More Police and Fire

More U.S. Department of Energy News

More DOE

More 2014 Election News

More 2014 Election

More Entertainment News

More Entertainment

More Obituaries

David Justus Johnson Jr.

Obituary: David Justus Johnson Jr.

David Justus Johnson Jr., age 93, of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, passed away on December 20, 2014, after a brief illness and a long life. David was born in Chicago, Illinois, and graduated from Armour Tech (Illinois … [Read More...]

Mitchell Jerry Davis

Obituary: Mitchell Jerry Davis

Mitchell Jerry Davis, age 57, of Clinton, passed away Tuesday, December 16, at Methodist Medical Center. He was born April 13, 1957, in Oliver Springs, the son of Charles Perry Davis and Louise Echols Davis. Mr. … [Read More...]

Oak Ridge Today

Obituary: Ruth Slusher

Ruth Slusher passed away Friday, December 5. She was born in Pineville, Kentucky, in 1925. She was later a resident of Rhea County, where she owned a home on Watts Barr Lake and also in Oak Ridge. She was … [Read More...]

Oak Ridge Today

Obituary: J.D. Campbell

J. D. Campbell, age 87, a resident of Oliver Springs, passed away Friday, December 12, at Methodist Medical Center. Mr. Campbell was born October 18, 1927, in the Wheat Community in Roane County. He lived in Georgia … [Read More...]

More Obituaries

More Opinion

More Opinion

More Sports News

Oak Ridge Wildcats Geevantay Gee and Powell Panthers Cropped

Photos: Wildcats blow out Powell 85-44

  All 12 Wildcats scored, and four Oak Ridge players finished in double digits during a 85-44 blowout win at Powell on Friday night. The Panthers were shorthanded, playing without three injured starters. It … [Read More...]

More Sports