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A Minnesota activist who refused to testify earlier this weekbefore a federal grand jury in Davenport is now charged withconspiracy for an act of “animal enterprise terrorism” – believedto be a 2004 animal-rights vandalism act at the University ofIowa.

Scott DeMuth, 22, made his initial appearance this morning on acharge of conspiracy. DeMuth was already in custody for contempt ofcourt because of his refusal to testify. Fellow activist CarrieFeldman, who at one time dated DeMuth, also refused to testify andis in custody.

“Scott Ryan DeMuth did knowingly and intentionally conspire withpersons unknown to the grand jury to commit animal enterpriseterrorism and cause economic damage to the animal enterprise in anamount exceeding $10,000,” the indictment unsealed today says.

The indictment does not specifically say the charge is inconnection to the University of Iowa action. However, the timeframe and indication that it was in Johnson County match.Furthermore, federal authorities considered the extensive vandalisman act of terrorism. And DeMuth and Feldman both have said the Nov.14 vandalism is what federal authorities wanted them to testifyabout.

DeMuth is being held in the Muscatine County Jail. Feldman is inthe Washington County Jail.

The FBI was called in to investigate the November 2004 vandalismand break-in at the University of Iowa’s Spence Laboratories andSeashore Hall.

The Animal Liberation Front, an underground animal-rightsactivist group, claimed responsibility for the damage to labequipment and the release of 88 mice and 313 rats used inpsychology department experiments. The break-in was designated asdomestic terrorism.

UI officials estimated the damage in the hundreds of thousandsof dollars and offered a $10,000 reward for tips leading toidentification of the vandals. The university also increasedsecurity at its labs after the break-in.

A 50-minute video released to the media by ALF after thebreak-in showed at least four masked people had access toelectronic keys and took their time as they ransacked thelaboratories.

David Skorton, then president of the university, condemned thedestruction and the implied threat to researchers in an e-mail,which listed researcher names, home addresses and phone numbers.The e-mail was posted on a Web site that posts reports of ALFactivity.

The environment for researchers at the university, Skorton said,was “permanently altered.”

ALF, according to its Web site, is “a loosely associatedcollection of cells of people who intentionally violate the law inorder to free animals from captivity and the horrors ofexploitation.” The people in one cell do not know people in othercells to “prevent legal authorities from breaking up theorganization.”

They break into buildings to release animals, destroy propertyand use intimidation to “prevent further animal abuse and murder,”the site says.

Feldman, 20, and DeMuth, both from Minneapolis, were orderedheld Tuesday until they decide to testify before the grand jury,Judge John Jarvey ruled. Their confinement could be for the term ofthe grand jury – which they believe has 11 months remaining – oruntil the end of this proceeding, federal code says. The longestthey can be held is 18 months.

It is unclear whether DeMuth’s civil contempt still stands.

About 40 people from across the Midwest traveled to supportFeldman and DeMuth, who spoke at a rally outside the courthouse indowntown Davenport before their appearance. The protesters were metby a heavy police presence.