Federal judge for 9/10 anti-drone trial excludes testimony from Ramsey Clark and Col. Ann Wright but allows testimony from constitutional law expert; all three to speak in KC Sunday night and in Jefferson City at news conference Monday
Brian Terrell 773-853-1886
Henry Stoever 913-375-0045
Ruth O’Neill 573-268-0095
September 7, 2012
In a teleconference hearing this morning, Judge Magistrate Matt J. Whitworth of the U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri, ruled that two expert witnesses will be excluded from testifying in a trial set for Monday afternoon in Jefferson City. The defendants who requested the expert witnesses are anti-drone activists who were arrested at Whiteman Air Force Base in April. The judge did agree that a third witness could give testimony limited to the defendants’ constitutional rights.
Defendants Ronald Faust of Gladstone, Mo., near Kansas City, and Brian Terrell of Maloy, Iowa, previously filed motions to admit as expert witnesses former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark; retired U.S. Army officer and diplomat Col. Ann Wright; and Loyola University Law School Professor Bill Quigley of New Orleans. Judge Whitworth ruled that while Professor Quigley’s proposed testimony to the defendants’ constitutional rights is relevant to the case at hand, the testimony from Mr. Clark and Col. Wright was not relevant—it would have addressed the illegality of the use of drones such as those that are remotely piloted from Whiteman AFB, and would have emphasized citizens’ responsibilities under international treaties. Citing previous federal cases, Judge Whitworth explained his ruling: “International law does not trump domestic law.”
At 1 p.m. Monday, immediately before the trial begins, the defendants will be allowed to make a short “offer of proof,” keeping for the record a summary of what the witnesses would have said if they had been admitted as expert witnesses. In part, the defendants will argue that the judge’s ruling is not consistent with the defendants’ right to present a complete and fair defense as guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment and the Sixth Article of the U.S. Constitution, which reads, “All Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”
Col. Wright and Mr. Clark, along with Professor Quigley, the defendants, their attorneys, and Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Nonviolence (she will also be called as a witness), will hold a news conference outside the U.S. District Court in Jefferson City at noon on Monday.
On Sunday evening, the defendants and Col. Wright, Mr. Clark, Professor Quigley, and Ms. Kelly will talk about drones in modern life at Community Christian Church, 4601 Main, KC, Mo., from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The session is free and open to the public.
In this morning’s teleconference, Air Force Captain Michael Pierson represented the government. Attorney Ruth O’Neill of Columbia, Mo., represented Ron Faust. Brian Terrell represented himself, assisted by advisory counsel Henry Stoever of Overland Park, Kan.
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