Utah judge denies defense motion in oil lease case
SALT LAKE CITY – A federal judge has denied a discovery motion filed by defense attorneys for a college student accused of sabotaging an oil-and-gas lease auction in Utah by running up prices and failing to pay for his bids.
U.S. District Judge Dee Benson ruled Monday that prosecutors don’t have to turn over any documents they may have that show the intent of other bidders who failed to pay for leases they bid on but were never prosecuted.
Defense attorneys are trying to show that the government is selectively prosecuting Tim DeChristopher, an environmental activist.
In a ruling from the bench, Benson said defense attorneys failed to show the other bidders who never paid up had similar situations to DeChristopher.
DeChristopher’s attorneys say they still plan to pursue that line of defense.