Oregon Standoff Fallout – Pete Santilli In Jail, His Own Parents Cite Mental Health Concerns About Their Son

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Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan Knight had argued Friday that Santilli was encouraging others to join the occupation in a “call to action.” Knight also said that Santilli’s own parents believed he’d be at risk of not returning to court and cited mental health concerns about their son.

Pete Santilli, ordered held, will challenge ruling before another judge Tuesday

Pete Santilli copy.jpg
A court-appointed attorney for Peter T. Santilli, described as an independent broadcaster, has argued that Santilli is being prosecuted for his speech. Federal prosecutors contend he had issued a “call to action” for others to join in the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. (Screengrab )

By Maxine Bernstein | The Oregonian/OregonLive

Peter T. Santilli, one of the 11 defendants charged with federal conspiracy stemming from the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, will challenge a magistrate judge’s detention order before another federal judge on Tuesday.

On Friday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie F. Beckerman had characterized Santilli’s case as a “close call,” but on Monday, she ordered him to remain in custody, pending trial.

She found he remains a serious risk of flight and danger to the community.

She cited his lack of ties to Oregon, the nature of his alleged offense, his role in the nearly month-long refuge occupation, the lack of an appropriate plan offered for his release, unstable residence and mental health concerns, according to Beckerman’s detention order. She also cited statements he made in October, regarding complying with a government order.

Beckerman issued her ruling Monday, after having reviewed material from Santilli’s videos, according to court records.

Santilli’s lawyer Tom Coan is expected to challenge Beckerman’s finding before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Michael W. Mosman at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

Federal pre-trial services officers had recommended Santilli, 50, be released to a halfway house, but federal prosecutors opposed such an arrangement.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan Knight had argued Friday that Santilli was encouraging others to join the occupation in a “call to action.” Knight also said that Santilli’s own parents believed he’d be at risk of not returning to court and cited mental health concerns about their son.

Coan countered that Santilli, who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, was being punished solely for his “speech,” as an independent broadcaster who provided “unfiltered” broadcasts of the developing story. Coan said he also talked to Santilli’s parents, who said their son had a temper, but they’ve been estranged from him the past few years.

Coan said Santilli was enthusiastic about challenging the government’s case in court.

“He wants to appear in court,” Coan said Friday.

Santilli is one of 11 defendants charged with federal conspiracy, accused of conspiring to use intimidate, threats or violence to impede federal officers from doing their jobs at the federal wildlife sanctuary. He was arrested last Tuesday in Burns.

He’s currently being held at the Multnomah County Detention Center.

— Maxine Bernstein

mbernstein@oregonian.com
503-221-8212
@maxoregonian

Source: http://www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2016/02/pete_santilli_ordered_held_wil.html

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