New federal indictments filed against Y-12 activists

New federal indictments filed against Y-12 activists

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The three activists have not denied cutting through four barbed wire fences to enter the nuclear weapons facility in Oak Ridge. The three activists have not denied cutting through four barbed wire fences to enter the nuclear weapons facility in Oak Ridge.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A three-count superseding indictment was handed down Tuesday by a federal grand jury in Knoxville against three peace activists accused of breaching the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and vandalizing a building.

Michael Walli, 63, of Washington, D.C.; Sister Megan Rice, 82, of Nevada; and Greg Boertje-Obed, 57, of Duluth, Minn., face new charges related to the July incident. They are members of a movement called Transform Now Plowshares.

The three were indicted in August on federal trespassing charges for their roles in the unprecedented security breach.

The new charges issued Tuesday replace the original indictment. The three activists are now charged with aiding and abetting each other, with intent to injure, interfere with, and obstruct the national defense of the United States. They are also accused of willfully injuring, destroying and contaminating national defense facilities on the Y-12 National Security Complex.  

Original charges of trespassing onto U.S. Department of Energy property were removed from the new indictment.

A trial had been set for February 26, in U.S. District Court in Knoxville, but prosecutors say that could change because of the new indictment.

The three activists have not denied cutting through four barbed wire fences to enter the nuclear weapons facility in Oak Ridge. In October they released photos showing how they targeted the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, where they hung banners, spray-painted and splashed human blood on the side of the building.  

The Transform Now Plowshares members said they were protesting the production of nuclear weapons and the Department of Energy's plans to rebuild the site's Uranium Processing Facility.

Prosecutors say the new indictment carries a maximum prison term totaling 35 years. The maximum fine is $250,000 per count.

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