MAY 22, 2009
A federal judge has sent a Kansas man to prison for criticizing federal prosecutors, claiming that the man posed a threat of “continued criminal defamation of government counsel and witnesses.”
The man (Guy Neighbors) in the northwest Kansas college town of Lawrence has been accused of selling stolen goods in the popular secondhand store he has owned for two decades and has been free on bond pending trial in October. For more than four years federal prosecutors and local police have tried shutting down Neighbors’ store (the Yellow House) but the charges have been dropped once by a federal judge and the trial date has been moved more than a dozen times.
This week U.S. Magistrate Judge James O’Hara revoked the man’s bond (effectively sending him to prison) because federal prosecutors pointed out that in late April he made statements in electronic mails that accused them and police of corruption in the stolen-goods case against him.
The email that landed Neighbors in jail said prosecutors and police officers have acted “in a pattern of conspiracy and cover-up.” Neighbors had previously posted blogs that were similarly critical of authorities, including officers at two local police departments and the federal prosecutor handling his case.
A web site dedicated to following the case posts all the federal documents, including the judge’s order to revoke bail and official transcripts of lengthy court hearings almost entirely devoted to Neighbors’ internet blogging on the matter. It also includes Neighbors’ request for a change of venue alleging he can’t get a fair trial in Kansas.
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