Lawyer: Fake Utah drilling bids were 'sabotage'

Mar 1 2011 - 11:44am

SALT LAKE CITY -- A prosecutor is telling jurors in Salt Lake City that a man must be punished for the "sabotage" he committed by placing fake bids on federal oil and gas drilling leases to run up the prices.

In opening statements Tuesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Romney said Tim DeChristopher's trial isn't about "Big Oil" or the Bureau of Land Management policies that prompted the 29-year-old's civil disobedience.

Romney says DeChristopher knowingly placed millions of dollars in bids at the 2008 auction without any intention of paying.

Defense lawyers are waiting to make their opening statements in the case that's become a cause celebre among Hollywood stars and environmentalists.

DeChristopher pleaded not guilty to interfering with and making false representations at a government auction. He faces up to 10 years in prison and $750,000 in fines if he's convicted.


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