Grand jury resister Jordan Halliday released, faces new charges
After serving 3.5 months for contempt after refusing to answer questions at a grand jury investigating A.L.F. activity in Utah, Jordan Halliday has been released from federal custody.
The good news brings with it the bad: Jordan has now been formally indicted for criminal contempt, a charge which brings with it no maximum sentence. He has been released on bail, with the conditions that he not associate with the “Animal Liberation Front” and anyone “straight edge”. Translated, this means Jordan can have no contact with people the identity of whom no one knows, and anyone who does not drink or use drugs. This is identical in language and absurdity to the bail conditions of BJ & Alex, indicted in Utah for alleged participation in A.L.F.-claimed mink releases.
Jordan Halliday was originally taken into custody after refusing to answer questions ostensibly related to mink releases in Utah, although Jordan was told he was not considered a suspect. After refusing to cooperate with the government’s attempt to neutralize the animal liberation movement, Jordan was taken into custody in an attempt to compel him to testify. Jordan’s motions to be released were denied after the government produced intercepted text and computer messages in which Jordan allegedly expressed knowledge of grand juries and possible outcomes of his non-cooperation. The judge used this knowledge of grand jury history to hold him further, citing that the full coercive power of the government had not been expended given that Jordan was aware that historically grand jury resisters have been released on successfully argued “grumbles motions”.
A statement from Jordan’s support committee:
This particular grand jury was allegedly established for the purpose of investigating mink releases in Utah. However, the questions asked of Jordan went far beyond inquests on criminal activity. The prosecution is clearly using the grand jury as a fishing expedition to investigate the activities of animal rights activists generally. These tactics are employed to chill free speech activities and intimidate people from standing up for the rights of themselves and animals. Jordan is making a commendable principled stand for his refusal to cooperate with this abridgment of rights. He has committed absolutely no acts of violence or property destruction. The government has even expressed that he is NOT considered a suspect in the mink release or any other illegal activity. He is being held in contempt simply because he refuses to acquiesce to the abridgment of his First and Fifth Amendment rights. The government is criminally indicting him now with felony contempt of court to send a message to political activists that the weight and the authority of the government should not be resisted. This use of criminal law and federal subpoena power is a serious threat to our constitution rights of free association, free speech, and against self-incrimination.”