DeChristopher indicted

By Michael McFall, Staff Writer

The U.S. Attorney’s Office indicted U student Tim DeChristopher for violation of a federal act for bidding on land to protect it from oil drilling.

The office is accusing DeChristopher, a senior in economics, of violating the Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act by placing fake bids at a Bureau of Land Management auction in December. DeChristopher made clear that he had no intention to make good on the bids in the end. Patrick Shea, DeChristopher’s attorney, said the coordinated action is a political move by the Attorney’s Office and has nothing to do with upholding the law.

“I think we can present a convincing case that what he did was legitimate and should not be prosecuted,” Shea said.

DeChristopher and his lawyer said at a press conference Wednesday that they plan to fight the indictment, arguing that the BLM leasing auction was illegitimate. At the auction, DeChristopher signed a contract that he would pay for the bids, and has since raised about $100,000.

Brett Tolman, the U.S. Attorney for Utah, said in a statement that DeChristopher repeatedly claimed that he intended to disrupt the lease bidding process.

“I was looking at the consequences of acting and not acting,” DeChristopher said. “I chose that going to prison was a better outcome than letting this destruction continue.”

DeChristopher said he believes the morality of his actions supersedes the charges. His lawyer said he plans to use this as an argument in their case, known as “the lesser of two evils defense.” The student said his actions exposed the government bidding process as unjust.

DeChristopher now faces arraignment, which Shea hopes will be held before a jury of his peers.

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Danika Holmes

Tim Dechristopher and his lawyers held a press conference Wednesday after the U.S. Attorneys office indicted him.