Y-12 protesters remain jailed while judge considers whether crimes violent

Y-12 Protesters Detention Hearing

Michele Naar-Obed, wife of Y-12 protester Greg Boertje-Obed, and supporter Paul Magno, center, listen outside U.S. District Court on Thursday as supporter Bill Bichsel of Tacoma, Wash., talks to the media.

KNOXVILLE—The three protesters who broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex in July and vandalized a uranium storage building will remain jailed while a federal judge considers whether their crimes were violent.

Greg Boertje-Obed, Megan Rice, and Michael Walli were convicted of property depredation and willfully injuring national defense premises on Wednesday. They had a detention hearing Thursday morning. [Read more...]

Y-12 protesters guilty of two federal charges, jailed overnight

The Fruit of Justice is Peace Slogan on HEUMF at Y-12

Three anti-nuclear weapons activists who sneaked into the Y-12 National Security Complex on July 28 splashed human blood and, quoting Proverbs, sprayed paint on the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility. The protesters also hammered the building, causing it to chip, and strung up crime scene tape. (Submitted photo)

KNOXVILLE—The Catholic nun, house painter, and laborer who broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex in July and splashed human blood and spray-painted slogans on a uranium storage building were found guilty on two federal counts Wednesday, one charging them with property depredation of more than $1,000 and the other alleging they willfully injured national defense premises.

The three protesters—Megan Rice, 83; Michael R. Walli, 64; and Greg Boertje-Obed, 57—were taken to the Blount County jail after the verdict was read at the end of a two-day trial in U.S. District Court in Knoxville. Dozens of courtroom supporters sang softly as the three anti-nuclear weapons activists were taken into custody after about 2.5 hours of deliberations by the nine men and three women on the jury panel.

Boertje-Obed, Rice, and Walli have a detention hearing on Thursday morning. Each faces up to 30 years in prison. [Read more...]

Y-12 protester case goes to jury this afternoon

Y-12 Plowshares Protesters

Pictured above are the three anti-nuclear weapons protesters who broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex on July 28. From left, they are Michael Walli, Megan Rice, and Greg Boertje-Obed.

Note: This story was last updated at 12:51 p.m.

KNOXVILLE—The case against three anti-nuclear weapons activists who broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex in July and vandalized a uranium storage building could go to a jury this afternoon.

The government rested its case yesterday, and the defense rested this morning after the three defendants—Greg Boertje-Obed, Megan Rice, and Michael Walli—testified.

The three acknowledge sneaking into Y-12 on July 28, cutting through high-security fences, and pouring blood and spray-painting biblical passages on the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, where most of the nation’s bomb-grade uranium is stored. But they say they were religiously motivated and peacefully protesting the plant’s nuclear weapons work, symbolically disarming the 811-acre plant. [Read more...]

Court will not limit time for jury examination in Y-12 protester case

A federal judge will not limit the time used to examine prospective jurors during jury selection on May 6 in the trial against three anti-nuclear weapons activists accused of breaking into the Y-12 National Security Complex last summer and vandalizing a uranium storage building.

As previously reported, attorneys for the defendants—Greg Boertje-Obed, Megan Rice, and Michael Walli—had asked for six hours for jury selection because of the publicity the unprecedented security breach has generated. [Read more...]

Y-12 protesters ask court to dismiss sabotage charges

Transform Now Plowshares

The three anti-nuclear weapons activists pictured above allegedly cut through fences and vandalized a high-security building at the Y-12 National Security Complex in July and now face federal charges of property destruction, property depredation, and injuring national defense premises. From left to right the three are Michael R. Walli, Megan Rice, and Greg Boertje-Obed. (Submitted photo)

In one of a series of motions last week, the three protesters who broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex on July 28 asked a federal court to dismiss the new sabotage charges filed against them in December.

Attorneys for the protesters—anti-nuclear weapons activists Greg Boertje-Obed, Megan Rice, and Michael R. Walli—said the new charges, which could add up to 20 years in prison, are unconstitutional, vindictive, and selective. They said the new charges were brought because the defendants earlier refused to plead guilty to less serious crimes.

In addition, the sabotage charges are rarely applied to civilian conduct and should not have been used in this case because Y-12 is a private contractor site and not a military base, the four attorneys for the protesters said in a motion to dismiss filed in U.S. District Court in Knoxville on Friday.

[Read more...]

Y-12 activists indicted by federal grand jury for trespassing, property destruction

Three anti-nuclear weapons activists arrested July 28 in the high-security Protected Area at the Y-12 National Security Complex have been indicted by a federal grand jury on three counts of trespassing, property depredation, and property destruction.

The three defendants—Greg Boertje-Obed, Megan Rice, and Michael R. Walli—are expected to be arraigned this morning in U.S. District Court in Knoxville.

[Read more...]