DeChristopher’s legal team to file notice of appeal

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – Attorneys for Tim DeChristopher said they
will file a notice of appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Tuesday, DeChristopher was sentenced to two years in prison for rigging
a federal oil and gas lease auction.

His attorneys said the basis for the appeal goes to the day he was indicted.

Back then DeChristopher said something wasn’t right.

“So before I knew or my legal team knew or anyone in the media knew I was
going to get indicted the oil industry knew,” he told reporters in March.

DeChristopher’s legal time will claim the oil and gas industry played a role in
his indictment.

And it ties into another area of their appeal: selective prosecution. His legal
team claims historically others who placed bogus bids during BLM’s oil and
gas lease auctions were never charged.

“The question is not why he was prosecuted, but why everybody else wasn’t,”
his attorney Ron Yengich said in March.

And finally DeChristopeher never got a chance to tell the jury why he rigged
the bidding process.

In 2009, the judge ruled against that.

“Well certainly disappointment when I heard the judge’s decision,” DeChristopher
told ABC 4 News days after the ruling.

That argument is called the necessity defense where someone breaks the law to
prevent harm.

In the case of DeChristopher, his attorney says the jury needed to know why he
did what he did.

“We were not able to introduce the evidence related to climate change, the
basis for Tim’s frame of mind, why he thought it was imperative to act,” said
his co-counsel Pat Shea.

But historically the appellate courts reject the necessity argument.

Daniel Medwed is a professor of law at the University of Utah.

“Necessity (defense) is a very hard row to hoe,” Medwed said. “One of the
challenges I think for Mr. DeChristopher is by showing that he acted this
way he prevented some environmental tragedy.”

Even his attorneys concede the appeal will be difficult.

“I have to admit it’s an uphill fight but it’s something we’re willing to do
on Tim’s behalf,” said Shea.

As part of the appeal process Shea said they will also attempt to get DeChristopher
released from jail pending the outcome of the appeal process. He is currently in
the Davis County jail waiting for the Bureau of Prisons to decide where he’ll serve time.

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