Briana Waters Trial: Notes from Phillabaum's testimony 2/14
<table><tr><td>Court reconvenes after lunch.
Defense attorney Bloom serves subpoena to woman in court room to appear as a witness; she is asked to leave. Later we find out that this is Brianna’s aunt; her son is a witness for the prosecution.
Donald Sachtleven, FBI special agent bomb technician, returns to the witness stand. Prosecutor Bartlett continues questioning him. Sachtleven is asked to explain the workings of an incendiary device.
Defense attorney Fox cross exams about Sachtleven’s qualifications. Fox points out that the education Sachtleven claimed to have amounted to twelve weeks of formal training. Then Fox proceeded to point out the misconducts of the four people who taught the trainings for this agency, pointing out that they misrepresented evidence in courts of law, these incidents were all documented by the inspector general. Fox inquires about his involvement in the Oklahoma City bomb case, Unabomber case and the world trade center case in which Sachtleven’s agency and unit were criticized for performance. The cross examination continued to discredit the witness and point out his “less than completely honest” work ethic.
Sachtleven stoops down.</td><td><img title="As opposed to the honest public officials..." src="files/pictures/lacy_phillabaum.jpg"></td></tr></table><!--break-->
Prosecuter Friedman calls Lacey Phillabaum to the stand. She enters through a side door dressed in what look like khaki scrubs.
Q: Give a little history of yourself
A: Lived in Spokane until she was 18, graduated high school in ‘93, graduated University of Oregon at Eugene in ’96, worked for EF Journal.
Q: Where on the spectrum would you place the views of the EF Journal.
A: Most radical.
Q: Do they have a motto?
A: “No compromise in defense of Mother Earth.”
Q: What did you do at the EF Journal
A: Newspaper editor from ’97-’99.
Q: Why did you leave?
A: Worn out, went traveling in Europe.
Q: Is the EF Journal in Eugene?
Q: Other work?
A: Odd jobs and Oregon Tilth
Q: What is Oregon Tilth?
A: Trade newspaper for organic standards, much more main stream. Editor through February ’05. Moved to Virginia, then to D.C.
Q: Why are you wearing khaki?
A: I am in jail; I pleaded guilty to my charges, and self surrendered.
Q: Can you identify exhibit 792B
A: It is my plea agreement
Q: How many crimes were you charged with?
A: Three crimes: arson, conspiracy, and use of an incendiary device.
Q: Under the plea agreement, what have you agreed to do?
A: Tell the truth, regardless of impact. I’ll serve between three and five years.
Q: How much time would you serve had you not cooperated?
A: For conspiracy, 0-5 years; arson, 5-20 years; use of an incendiary device, 30 year minimum; consecutive.
Q: Why did you cooperate?
A: The truth was coming out; I had regrets and did not want to spend 30 years in jail. It has been excruciating every day ever since. I have a lot of sympathy for everyone involved.
Q: Let’s talk about your activism. Where did that start?
A: Warner Creek in Oakridge a large campaign, road blockades and protest.
Q: Do you recall meeting any others there?
A: Bill Rogers
Q: Was he a leader?
A: He had experience and was looked to for advice.
Q: Identify exhibit 111
A: Picture of Avalon.
Q: How well did you get to know him at Warner Creek?
A: Years. I had a high trust level.
Q: Were you involved in other protests?
A: In the Redwoods and in Idaho.
Q: Were you arrested?
A: Three times
Q: Did you see Avalon at other protests/
A: Yes, over the years
Q: Describe your relationship with him.
A: I had a lot of trust in him, he facilitated meetings, he was very reasonable.
Q: Would you consider his role leadership?
A: No, facilitator.
Q: What was your involvement at WTO?
A: Organizing, outreach, postering, and direct action.
Q: What type of direct action?
A: Cargill Grain elevator protest.
Q: What kind of protest?
A: Office occupation
Q: Were you alone?
A: No, I was with Avalon, Daniel McGowan, Joy Zacher, and Suzanne Savoie.
Q: Do you recognize exhibit 117/
A: Picture of Daniel McGowan
Q: Do you recognize exhibit 120?
A: Picture of Suzanne Savoie.
Q: Do you recognize exhibit 119?
A: Joy Zacher
Q: Were they all in this group?
A: Amongst others
Q: Did you take over Cargill?
A: No, the action didn’t work. We went downtown with other protestors.
Q: Did you perceive WTO as a success?
A: Yes, because the meetings did not lead to negotiations.
Q: Did this lead to other work?
A: Formed an affinity group with Avalon and others. We had five meetings between March of 2000 and May of 2001. In Eugene, Arizona, California, Washington, and Bend, Oregon.
Q: How many people were at the meetings?
A: 10-12, they got bigger as time went on.
Q: Who was there at the first meeting?
A: Myself, Avalon, Suzanne, Nathan, Joy, and Daniel.
Q: Same people at second meeting?
A: Avalon introduced new people. Chelsea was at the second meeting. At the third meeting, Stan Meyerhoff and Jennifer Kohlar came.
Q: Identify exhibit 124.
A: Chelsea Gerlach.
Q: Identify exhibit 112.
A: Picture of Jennifer Kohlar
Q: Identify exhibit 116.
A: Stan Meyerhoff
Q: Identify exhibit 118.
Q: Do you know Brianna?
Q: Was she present at these meetings?
Q: What was the topic at these meetings?
A: We talked about what we wanted to do, the experience people had, direct action ideas. At the third meeting we had a training by Stan and Chelsea on how to build an incendiary device. We learned to solder components.
Q: Any other trainings?
A: At the second meeting we learned anonymous communication from simple to sophisticated, generic email/ access through proxy. Different methods of encryption. Jennifer taught PGP, a type of encryption. We learned how to do recon, lock picking, and breaking and entering.
Q: What else did you discuss?
A: Philosophies and hands on tactics. Those meetings were not exclusive to do actions.
Q: Did you discuss genetic engineering?
A: Yes, that was a strong agenda for Daniel and Suzanne, and quickly became group agenda.
Q: Do most in the affinity group have nicknames?
A: Yes. Bill Rogers was Avalon, Suzanne was India, McGowen was Sorrel.
Q: What was yours?
A: Most people know me as Lacey, maybe knew me as Reba.
Q: Did genetic engineering become a focus?
“Washington. The email was encrypted. I had to decode it. It told me the time and place to meet. It was a Starbuck’s in Pullman. Drove there with Cheslea. We met India and did the action.
Q: What was the action?
A: We pulled canola out of the field. We had a disagreement about which action to do: the barley or the canola. We did the canola.
Q: What is genetic engineering?
A: Introducing a foreign gene.
Q: Tell me about the action.
A: We pulled the canola out of a small trial field. It was like pulling weeds at night. There were 8-10 people. Myself, Chelsea, Joyana, Nathan, Justin, Suzanne, and either Avalon or Stan, I’m not sure.
Q: Can you identify exhibit 115?
A: It’s a picture of Justin Solanz.
Q: Did you have a name for your meetings?
A: Yes, ‘Book club meetings.”
Q: Was Justin at “Bookclub?”
Q: What precautions did you take in the action?
A: We wore black and gloves, had someone be the lookout, and tried to be inconspicuous.
Q: Was a communiqué written?
A: I think so.
Q: What is a communiqué?
A: It’s where a person or a group claims responsibility for an action.
A: So people understand that it was not a random act.
Q: Did you have involvement in writing communiqués?
A: Yes, I helped in writing that communiqué.
Q: Why are they anonymous?
A: So there is no association.
We entered courtroom after recess. Lacey on the witness stand, laughing and smiling with the cops.
Q: Identify exhibit 273.
A: I think it is the communiqué for the field action.
Q: Can you read the headlines?
A: “Dusty’s Desporados raid Monsanto…”
Q: Were you involved in the Poplar Tree Action.
A: Yes, March ’01.
Q: had you been involved in discussions before the action?
A: Yes, I talked to McGowan at the WTO protest, it became a focus of research. Poplar is the first non crop plant genetically engineered.
Q: Who was involved in research?
A: Steve Straus was doing research at Oregon State.
Q: Was there an action planned around the Straus research/
A: Yes, we were working on an action to destroy the trees. Some thought we were moving too slow. Others moved to do the action in early March. The trees were destroyed by girdling.
Q: Identify exhibit 292C.
A: I think it’s a tree at the site. We rubbed a chisel to break the cambium layer of the tree. That’s the layer under the bark. The tree will die. It’s called girdling.
Q: The action was at two plots. Were you at both?
A: No. I went one night to one site, thought I saw headlights and called off the action. I was with McGowan, Nathan, Stan, and some other person.
Q: Who was on the other team?
A: I’m unsure. Maybe Gerlach was on radio relay and someone called Spring.
Q: How many people and how many trees?
A: Thirty people, hundreds of trees. People went back another night without me.
Q: Identify exhibit 293.
A: It’s a communiqué of the completed action.
Q: Can you read it?
A: “ Visited by night… cut down ring barked… 1,200 trees destroyed… Frankentrees… Eco warriors”
Q: Did someone approach you in a bar in May of ’01?
A: I met Stan and Chelsea at a bar, they conversed in French, which I didn’t understand. Then they asked me to be involved in an action and told me I would need to go north with Stan Thursday night.
Q: When was the action.
A: Late Sunday night, May 10th or 11th.
Q: Were Stan and Chelsea involved in a relationship?
A: They have been dating since high school, but things were on the outs.
Q: Were you involved with Stan?
A: Flirtatious at this point.
Q: Are you still involved.
A: Yes, we’re engaged.
Q: Did you go north with Stan.
A: yes, with Stan, Suzanne, and Daniel. I have vivid memories of the music we listened to in the car.
Q: Where did you go?
A: Olympia. I was dropped off at a Denny’s. I was the only one who stayed. Stan got out of the car to talk to somebody, and then left.
Q: Who did you meet there?
A: Jen Kohlar, Brianna, Justin, and Avalon.
Q: Identify exhibit 101A
Objection by the Defense: “This exhibit is suggestive, so it is not accepted.”
Judge has the Prosecutor identify who in the picture was at the restaurant and cover up the rest.
Q: Name the five people at the restaurant.
A: Justin, Brianna, Jen, myself, and Avalon. This is the first time I’ve met Brianna.
The witness identifies Brianna in the courtroom.
I was unfamiliar with Brianna, but Avalon vouched for Brianna, and vouched for me.
Brianna and I started to walk to the back of the restaurant. Avalon brought us to the front. I was uncomfortable talking about the subject matter in public. The next morning I went running at a track near a house where Brianna was playing violin. She stopped playing when I arrived.
Q: Identify exhibit 733.
A: This is three different pictures of the house where we met that weekend. I think I stayed at that house. We went out to an out building in the backyard.
Q: Who went out to the outbuilding?
A: Brianna, Avalon, Justin, and myself.
Q: What did you discuss?
A: Justin was talking about incendiary devices, improvements he has made to the design, and how he was using these bladder bags that he dumpster dived.
Q: Was Brianna present?
A: I believe so.
Q: What else do you remember?
A: I remember being in a field, there were five of us: Avalon, Jen, myself, Brianna, and Justin. Jen outlined how who intended to break the windows using some stained glass cutting tools. It was supposed to be quieter. I had the impression it would be soundless. We also talked about who would claim responsibility in the communiqué. We also met at Evergreen, discussed the finer details; the amount of fuel we should use… Jen thought we should use less fuel, Avalon thought we should use more fuel to make sure it would not be put out by the sprinkler system. Avalon’s view prevailed.
Q: What happened at the end of the weekend?
A: We drove back south.
Q: What were people’s responsibilities?
A: My responsibility was to secure black clothes for myself; Brianna was supposed to secure a vehicle.
Q: Explain the type of clothes.
A: It was important to wear clothes that were unassociated with us. Dark clothing.
Q: Because the action was in the city, did that have an effect on the clothes you would wear?
A: Yes, we didn’t want to be walking around looking like thugs.
Q: Tell me about the car.
A: It was also preferable to have a car disassociated with us. This was often the lynch pin in the action. Brianna was supposed to rent a car. I was concerned.
Q: She would rent a car herself?
A: I was told someone she trusted was going to rent a car. Maybe a distant relative?
Q: Did you know the person renting the car?
A: No. Anyone in the know would be implicated. Brianna and her boyfriend would declare they were having problems and needed a car.
Q: What was Justin’s responsibility?
A: To make the incendiary devices.
Q: Was he doing this alone?
A: I imagine with Avalon
Defense objects. Objection sustained.
Q: What happened at the end of the week?
A: I drove back to Olympia with Suzanne, Daniel, and Stan.
Q: Where in Olympia?
A: Maybe I stayed at Nathan and Joy’s after the crime. I remember being in an out building one other time.
Q: Who else lived there?
A: Ocean. He was in a wheelchair. And his girlfriend. She had red hair, I don’t know her name.
Q: What else do you remember?
A: I remember in the outbuilding, part of it was sectioned off. It was a “clean room”, to build devices.
Q: How do you create a “clean room?”
A: I think they use painting plastic on the sides.
Q: Were you in the “clean room?”
A: I understood we needed to help build the devices. Brianna and I went in the room. We only looked.
Q: Who took you in there?
A: I don’t remember; either Justin or Avalon.
Q: Did you need to take any special precautions?
A: Yes, we wore cloth painter’s outfits, gloves, and hair covers.
Q: What did you see?
Q: Any details?
A: Looked sort of like an alarm clock with wires hanging out in a Tupperware.
Q: Any large containers around, like for fuel?
A: Not in the ‘clean room.” We were shown how the bags for the fuel worked, and how all that was put in a garbage bag, then in a duffle bag.
Q: Identify exhibit 33B.
A: Looks like the Tupperware container to hold fuel.
Q: When did you leave Olympia?
A: The evening of the arson we went to Seattle.
Q: Where in Seattle?
A: To a bar.
Q: Identify exhibit 304A
A: I believe it’s the bar in Seattle we went to: The Green Lake Bar and Grill.
Q: Who was at the bar?
A: Jen, Avalon, Justin, Brianna, and myself.
Q: How long were you there?
A: An hour or two.
Q: Did you eat or drink?
A: I think I had a salad.
Q: Where did you go after the bar?
A: We drove to UW.
Q: Identify exhibit 303.
A: It’s a map of the university campus. This is where we got dropped off.
Q: Who got dropped off?
A: I don’t have a clear memory of who.
Q: Identify exhibit 304C.
A: This is a picture of the street where we got dropped off near the gate. At some point, earlier that evening, someone pre positioned the backpacks. I don’t recall carrying anything when we got out of the car.
Q: Identify exhibit 304D.
A: That is a picture of the gate we passed through.
Q: Identify exhibit 304E.
A: That’s another picture of the gate, and a bush.
Q: Let’s go back to exhibit 303. Locate this on the map.
A: she locates it on the map.
Q: Identify exhibit 304F.
A: Picture of the area from the other direction.
Q: Where in the picture is the gate.
A: This is the gate.
Q: Why is the bush significant?
A: After we came back, Brianna was “lookout” there. I don’t have a clear memory. I think she had a radio.
Q: What was Brianna’s responsibility?
A: To notify us of security or if anyone noticed our ruckus.
Q: Let’s go back to the map. Where did you go next?
A: She traced on the map where she said the bags were hidden. We couldn’t drive the care in late at night. Someone drove in earlier and dropped the bags off.
Q: Identify exhibit 304K.
Q: What happened at the dumpsters?
A: That’s where the bags were hidden.
Q: identify exhibit 304M &N
A: Yes, this is a view of the area around the wetland.
Q: Was there a path through there?
A: I don’t remember. I just remember the general direction. I crouched near there with Jennifer. I remember looking to the left and there was a bike at the bike rack. I was concerned there was someone in the building. We had a strong commitment to not hurt anyone.
Q: Where was Avalon?
A: At the building checking things out.
Q: What did you see?
A: I think I remember him creeping up to the building. Jen went to break the window. The broken window was loud. It wasn’t supposed to be that loud. Avalon was inside. I handed the bags in. He checked the office and came back to the window with Tupperware containers, indicating to me to take them out. I opened one up to see snake shapes; quickly covered it and put the Tupperwares outside.
Q: Do you remember a radio call?
A: I kind of remember Jen received a radio call. We held for a few minutes, then we proceeded.
Q: Then what?
A: Avalon was inside. I think he set the devices.
Defense objects. Objection sustained.
Q: Did you see or were you told?
A: I couldn’t see much. He may have been narrating, looking for places to put the devices. He set one near the building, then we left.
Q: Do you recall a radio call?
A: No, not at that point.
Q: Okay, look at the map. Show us what happened next.
A: We were here. Someone called for pick up. Justin was driving the car, and Brianna was near the bush. I believe someone called and he picked us up in the rental.
Q: Identify exhibit 775.
A: That’s the rental car. I believe it fits what I remember.
Q: All five of you got in the car? Then what?
A: Justin was driving, I was in back. We had a radio scanner. I remember driving out of a residential area on a one way street with cars parked on both sides. As we turned left, Justin nicked that back of a parked car. It felt huge, but it was not. We stopped, and they switched drivers.
Q: Then where did you go?
A: We were in another residential area, listening to the scanner to hear the fire response. We heard the call and the firefighter jargon about the science and possibly chemicals in the building. It was terrifying to me.
Q: Tell us about Avalon.
A: He seemed excited.
Q: How much time had gone by?
A: Not long, five or ten minutes. I pushed to leave.
Q: Where did you go next?
A: We went to a park without Jen. She got dropped off. I remember thinking how lucky she was. We waited in the park until morning so we could be more inconspicuous in the morning traffic driving back to Oly.
Q: Where in Olympia?
A: I remember a couple of things. I was at Nathan’s; Avalon and Justin were trying to fix the dent in the car. I think there was another action with Joy, Nathan, Daniel, Suzanne, and Stan. I got a little sleep. When I woke, they were there, excited and talking. The four of us sat and wrote the communiqué for both actions. Myself, Suzanne, Daniel, and Nathan.
Q: Then what happened to the communiqué?
A: Chelsea would take it and send it through a safe computer. But days had passed, and no claim had been made.
The judge intervenes. It’s 4:00p.m. Court recesses until 8:30 a.m.