From the July 2001 Idaho Observer:

Conspiracy to Allow Murder?

Vickie Weaver was not under investigation for anything; was not being charged with anything and, to our knowledge was guilty of nothing criminal when federal sniper/assassin Lon Horiuchi picked his target and shot her right in the face from 200 yards away. To federal agents, federal judges and federal attorneys, this was just another day at work; to those of us who understand the intricacies of the seige at Ruby Ridge, this was a murder and the recent dismissal of charges against the federal agent is a reaffirmation that it is still “open season” on the American public.

by Hari Heath

In August of 1992 federally employed sniper Lon Horiuchi fired the fatal shot which ended Vicky Weaver's life and wounded family friend Kevin Harris during the now infamous siege against the Weaver family at Ruby Ridge. These facts are not in dispute. The federal government claims it was an accidental shooting, while many others allege it was an intentional assassination of Randy Weaver's wife. Oxymoronically, Horiuchi was part of the FBI's “Hostage Rescue Team” sent to “rescue” a family the federal government had been holding hostage for days before Horiuchi assassinated the Weaver family's wife and mother. We may never know the truth since the FBI engaged in a massive cover up and the manslaughter charges against Horiuchi have now been dismissed.

The Weaver incident has spawned many conspiracy theories, many of which include so much evidence that the conspiracy is no longer just a theory. The government's own admissions of wrongdoing and misconduct in their prosecution of Randy Weaver were so incriminating that Weaver's lawyer Gerry Spence relied soley on the government's presentation and rested his client's case without putting on a defense. The jury acquitted Weaver of the primary charges against him.

Now, almost nine years after the siege, the government may finally get to bury the case against their hired gun. An interesting twist in the trail of events following Horiuchi's manslaughter charges however, presents an opportunity for yet another conspiracy theory in the Weaver assassinations: The conspiracy to allow murder. Could seemingly unrelated events be part of a great cover up of federal murder in North Idaho?

Denise Woodbury, Boundary County Idaho's prosecutor, initiated the prosecution of federal sniper Horiuchi on manslaughter charges in state court. The case was removed by the defense to the federal district court of Idaho under a federal statute which allows certain cases to be tried in the federal venue.

This was not going to be a fair fight. After the case was removed to federal court, Idaho District Federal Judge Edward Lodge would have controlled the case with federal rules of evidence that submitted to a federally selected jury charged with investigating the transgressions of a federally employed sniper on a federal mission. Horiuchi was defended by a team of U. S. attorneys. Woodbury was expected to prove her manslaughter charges in federal court supported by the assets of one of the most impoverished and sparsely populated counties in the nation while Horiuchi is being represented by the combined assets of the American people and a federally-sympathetic federal judge.

But the case against Horiuchi didn't even get to trial. Judge Lodge dismissed the case based on the fact that Horiuchi was acting in the course of his federal employment as a sniper and was therefore entitled to “immunity.”

Woodbury appealed the dismissal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeals court upheld Judge Lodge's dismissal last fall.

On a Petition for Rehearing before a full en banc panel of judges, the 9th Circuit reversed itself June 14, 2001, and sent the case all the way back to the Boundary County Courthouse in Bonners Ferry for trial. In the meantime, Brett Benson defeated Denise Woodbury in the primary election and was later elected as Boundary county's prosecutor last November.

How would the federal government protect their hired gun and keep the facts of the Weaver assassinations from becoming public record in Horiuchi's now re-opened manslaughter case? Who will do the fed's dirty work in future aggressions if they can later be found criminally liable? Here's my “conspiracy theory,” based on what has happened.

Benson, the new county prosecutor, recently dismissed the manslaughter charges against Horiuchi. Why? Or more importantly, how, was this accomplished? My “theory,” however circumstantial, reaches to a “conspiracy” that spans across county, state and federal interests.

What is the motivation for these interests that would support my “theory?” The trial of Horiuchi would be costly to the limited resources of county government. State and county officials do not want to further tarnish North Idaho's image with more publicity in a high profile case. Federal assassins must be protected so they can be useful in future aggressions. The federal government has already engaged in a massive cover up of the Weaver incident. This case could further expose the criminal conduct of federal operatives and lead to more indictments.

The FBI is already under considerable scrutiny for holding back documents in the McVeigh case. Their “evidence manufacturing lab” has been exposed. One of their top agents is suspected of selling information to the Russians for decades. They bungled the Chinese spy case at the Los Alamos Lab. Infra-red photography of the Waco burning proves that machine gun fire by government operatives pinned down the Branch Davidians preventing their escape as their home and church were set ablaze. The FBI lied about this incident. Many unanswered questions in the Oklahoma City bombing and the government's obvious cover-up, prevent any real closure of this issue. Federal authority everywhere is increasingly suspect and they don't want any more facts to come out.

Judge Lodge, who dismissed Horiuchi's federal case, has a history of protecting all things federal and is a long time political crony with Idaho Attorney General Al Lance. Political power in Idaho is held by a relatively small world of shakers and movers, but procedures must be followed. Any cover up shouldn't look like a cover up. An obscure collateral attack on the new prosecutor could be just the thing to make this matter go away. A few phone calls, or an off the record meeting could set the whole thing in motion. Or better yet, send in one of the deputies to get the job done. In the due course of time, everything will come clean in the wash.

At the northern end of Idaho, far from Boise, the Boundary County Commission formally petitioned the northernmost state court for an investigation. They requested a particular deputy Attorney General be appointed to investigate and possibly prosecute Benson, the new county prosecutor, allegedly for forgery and false documents. On May 21st, First District Judge James Michaud acted on the commissioner's request and appointed deputy AG Michael Henderson as a special prosecutor conducting the investigation of Benson. The county commissioners said the allegations have nothing to do with Benson's duties as prosecutor. He will continue as the county prosecutor while the investigation is pending. Benson also has a private law practice. Benson potentially could be removed from office by the court, prosecuted criminally for felony misconduct and be disbarred by the Idaho State Bar. However, no one will comment on the details of the alleged forgery and false documents while the investigation is pending.

While this could very well be an unrelated matter to the Horiuchi case, it also could be a very tidy conspiracy to allow the FBI Hostage Rescue Team's assassin to go unpunished. Was this a concerted application of pressure on the prosecutor who has the power to dismiss the Horiuchi case after it was returned to the state court for trial? Proof of this conspiracy theory remains in the hands of the conspirators themselves, if it exists at all, but the results from these curious circumstances will certainly add more questions and another layer to the conspiracy in the Weaver incident.

Note: On June 20, at the direction of Judge Michaud, a secret grand jury was impaneled in Bonner county. There is no clue for which case the grand jury is expected to seek an indictment. We do know that the process to pick the grand jury began with Bonner County Prosecutor Phil Robinson March 19, 2001.

We also know that by June 13, 2001, John Topp, who doubles as a civil attorney for Boundary county and deputy prosecutor for bordering Bonner county, has been called in to “investigate” the charges against Benson.

While we are conspiracy theorizing, what if Robinson and Topp are performing the “independent” investigation into charges against Benson and intend to find him innocent of any wrongdoing as a payback for dismissing criminal charges against Horiuchi?

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Hari Heath

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