November 24, 1997
Dear Friends and Supporters,
On October 15, 1997, Judge Claudia Wilken ruled that the FBI agents and Oakland Police officers who engineered the frame-up of Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney after a bomb exploded in their car on May 24, 1990, do not have immunity from prosecution for false arrest, illegal search, and a conspiracy to violate the activists' first amendment rights. This ruling is seven years in the making. It is the result of tremendous work compiling and analyzing the thousands of pages of discovery documents by Judi and the legal team. And it means that this historic civil rights lawsuit has cleared its largest hurdle, and is on its way to trial!
This is huge victory, and a leap forward in the bombing case. But there is still so much to be done.
Now that the FBI and OPD can no longer claim immunity from prosecution, the legal team will be moving on to finish the discovery phase of the lawsuit and to prepare the case for trial. We have yet to receive key files and documents from the FBI that could answer some troubling questions that have been raised throughout the course of the case about the May 24th bombing. Of particular interest is an FBI field report from the bombing scene that states that Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney were the subjects of an investigation in the terrorist department at the time of the explosion. We are pursuing pages that have been "disappeared" from FBI files turned over to us, and which we are certain document FBI surveillance of Earth First! activists in Northern California around the time of me bombing. It will also be necessary to get many of the agents and officers who claimed the first time around that they had never heard of Judi, Darryl or Earth First!, back into the deposition room to answer questions about the "terrorist investigation." The legal team will also be working hard to get Richard Held reinstated as a defendant in the lawsuit, after Judge Wilken granted his summary judgment motion in her decision on the immunity issue.
All of this legal work is vital to the case, and it all costs a great deal of money. Thanks to your continuing support we have so far survived the FBI and OPD's legal strategy of stalling in order to wear down our scant resources.
Please contribute whatever you can now to help ensure that the FBI agents and Oakland officers responsible for the COINTELPRO-style campaign against Earth First! and the bogus investigation of the bombing of Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney will be brought to trial. All donations are tax deductible. Checks should be made out to Redwood Justice Fund and mailed to P.O. Box 14720, Santa Rosa CA 95402.
With today's resurgence of the kinds of tactics that were used back in 1990 to set the stage for the bombing, our need to know the truth about the events surrounding the FBI smear campaign has become even more urgent. We must have answers. Exposing the full extent of FBI involvement in the case of Judi Bari, Darryl Cherney and Earth First! will be a victory for all progressive groups and movements who organize for social change in this country. Thank you for your support.
Tanya Brannan Darryl Cherney
Dennis Cunningham Alicia Littletree