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DeChristopher's testimony: a transcript

Published March 2, 2011 2:16 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The following is a transcript of Tim DeChristopher's testimony.

He is charged with two felonies for placing bogus bids at a Dec. 19, 2008, federal oil and gas lease auction in Salt Lake City.

The Salt Lake Tribune is providing this transcript via its reporters in Salt Lake City's federal courthouse. It is not an official court transcript.

Defense attorney Ron Yengich: I want to get something out of the way. (Inaudible) ... Mr. DeChristopher, on December, 19, 2008, where did you live?

DeChristopher: [He gives his home address] in Salt Lake City.

Yengich: You are familiar with the government's Exhibit No. 4?

DeChristopher: Yes

Yengich: You've seen it?

DeChristopher: Yes

Yengich: We're going to talk about it. Is that your name?

DeChristopher: Yes

Yengich: Who wrote that?

DeChristopher: I wrote that.

Yengich: What address is on that form?

DeChristopher: [He again gives his home address] in Salt Lake City.

Yengich: Did you live there during the calendar year 2009?

DeChristopher: Yes, I did, the whole time.

Yengich: Did you receive mail at that address?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Yengich: Was there ever a problem with your mail service at that time?

DeChristopher: Nothing that I knew about.

Yengich: Tell the members of the jury where you were born and where you were raised?

DeChristopher: I was born in West Virginia and grew up mainly in Pittsburgh, Pa. That's where I graduated from high school.

Yengich: What year did you matriculate at the University of Utah?

DeChristopher: I began at University of Utah in 2007 and graduated in 2009.

Yengich: And what was your focus of attention?

DeChristopher: I studied economics.

Yengich: What is your degree?

DeChristopher: Bachelor of science in economics.

Yengich: I wanted to talk a little about ... tell us just simply about your background and interests.

DeChristopher: Varied background. I took five years off at school. I originally started at Arizona State. I worked with teens in the wilderness in the Ozarks and then here in Utah. I've always been fairly concerned about environmental issues.

Yengich: Did your schooling at Arizona State or the University of Utah, did that involve any environmental issues?

DeChristopher: To some degree. It included environmental economics, how cost-benefit analyses are conducted?

Yengich: I want to go to December 19, 2008. Do you remember that day?

DeChristopher: I remember it very well.

Yengich: The day before, were you aware of any demonstration or protest at the Bureau of Land Management?

DeChristopher: Yes, I'd gotten several e-mails and notices about demonstrations.

Yengich: That day before, the 18th, had you thought about that protest at all?

DeChristopher: I'd heard quite a bit about the auction in question, both through newspapers, classes and e-mails. So I understood why the protest was taking place. I was aware there were quite a few legitimate concerns about whether the government was following its own procedures.

Prosecution: Objection.

Judge Dee Benson: I'll leave that in all right. ... As a matter of background, it's OK.

Yengich: Did you have something else to do on the 19th?

DeChristopher: Yes, I had a final exam that morning in current economic problems.

Yengich: What type of exam?

DeChristopher: It was an essay exam.

Yengich: Did you have a thought of going to the demonstration and protest after the exam?

DeChristopher: Yes, I did. (Inaudible). I believed I had heard the demonstration was going to start at 9:30. But my final exam ran from 8 to 10 so I knew that I'd be late.

Yengich: Now, at that point had you formulated in your mind any plan?

DeChristopher: No, nothing specific.

Yengich: What were you intending to go there for?

DeChristopher: I was intending to go there to join the protest and in stating my disagreement with these auctions.

Yengich: Did you take your exam?

DeChristopher: Yes, I did.

Yengich: How did yo do on it?

DeChristopher: I got an A.

Yengich: Did you then go to the BLM office?

DeChristopher: I went directly from the U. to the auction.

Yengich: What did you observe first and what did you do?

DeChristopher: I observed the protesters that were walking back and forth on the sidewalk. I briefly spoke to a couple of them before going in.

Yengich: Did you walk in the protest line?

DeChristopher: No, basically just to get from one side of the protest line to the other.

Yengich: Why is it you went inside the building?

DeChristopher: That morning I had realized that the protest wasn't really going to have much of an impact, and this auction deserved more than just holding a sign. I wanted to go inside and take stronger action to really raise a red flag as to what was going on there.

Yengich: Did you talk to anyone in line as to what your intentions were?

DeChristopher: Yes, my roommate Kent Boardman and a friend of mine, Ed Firmage Jr.

Prosecution: Objection.

Judge: Is it reflecting state of mind?

Yengich: Yes, I think it's reflecting a state of mind at that time. They have indicated he has communicated a number of times with Mr. Boardman.

Judge: He's going to express his then-existing state of mind? (Inaudible). Overruled.

DeChristopher: I said to each of them the auction is going on inside, that's really where we need to be.

Yengich: Did you express to anyone what you intended to do inside the auction?

DeChristopher: Um, I didn't have any intent to do anything inside the auction at that point.

Yengich: So you went inside the door. What did you do when you went inside the door of the auction?

DeChristopher: A security guard asked me if I was there for the auction, and I said yes. He directed me to the end of the table, where a BLM official asked me if I was there to be a bidder. I said yes.

Yengich: Had you ever been to an auction like this before?

DeChristopher: No.

Yengich: Did you know the process you would go through to be a bidder?

DeChristopher: No.

Yengich: Had you read public laws around the bidding process of BLM land?

DeChristopher: No.

Yengich: We have seen video of you sitting at table. Was that you?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Yengich: How long did you sit at that table?

DeChristopher: Maybe two or three minutes.

Yengich: There was a form that was handed to you, correct?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Yengich: Had anyone indicated to you that you had a right to just observe?

DeChristopher: No.

Yengich: What was your impression as to what you had to do to get inside the auction?

DeChristopher: My impression was that I had to sign up to be a bidder to get inside the auction. I would have to fill out the bidder-registration form.

Yengich: I want you to pick up that exhibit (inaudible).

DeChristopher: I skimmed over that.

Yengich: As you read that, did yo have any intention to actually bid?

DeChristopher: No, I did not.

Yengich: Signed it?

DeChristopher: Right, I handed it back to the BLM official. He also asked for my driver's license.

Yengich: Did you have any discussion with anyone other than the BLM official?

DeChristopher: No.

Yengich: Had you formulated in your mind any particular plan as to what you might do?

DeChristopher: No. The BLM official gave me paddle No. 70 and directed me to the elevator, where I was taken downstairs.

Yengich: There has been some discussion of what you did with paddle No. 70. What did you do with it?

DeChristopher: I don't have a clear recollection of it but … [BLM Agent Dan] Love's statement that I put it in my bag … was probably true.

Yengich: Did you know what you were supposed to do with it once you got to the auction floor?

DeChristopher: No.

Yengich: Had you been to any auction before?

DeChristopher: No.

(Inaudible).

Yengich: Were you requested to sit in any particular place?

DeChristopher: I observed briefly from the back of the room and sat down.

Yengich: Did you notice anybody there that you knew personally?

DeChristopher: Not when I walked into the room. No.

Yengich: When you sat down, were you directed to a particular area?

DeChristopher: I just picked my seat.

Yengich: In that regard, what's the first thing you remember happening as you sat down?

DeChristopher: I remember just observing the auction for a moment.

Yengich: What did you do at that point?

DeChristopher: I spent a while looking around the room and watching the auction.

Yengich: Why did you look around?

DeChristopher: I was trying to get an understanding of what was really going on and who else was around. After a while, I did see someone I recognized.

Yengich: While you were looking around the room, did you have any thought process of what you might do?

DeChristopher: My intent was to raise a red flag and hopefully bring enough attention that the government would reconsider their actions.

Prosecution: Objection.

Judge: Overruled.

Yengich: Did you have any intent at that time (inaudible)?

DeChristopher: Not when I first walked into the room.

Yengich: When you were sitting there, did you form that idea?

DeChristopher: Yes,

Yengich: I want you to explain how you came to that idea (inaudible).

DeChristopher: Once I saw the way the auction was operating, I realized with the bid card I was given there was an opportunity for me to cause enough of a delay for the new [Obama] administration to come in and reconsider the auction as they had already indicated in the paper.

Yengich: I admit that last part was inadmissible.

DeChristopher: I had some idea that it was a price per acre, and they were going for $2 or $10 per acre. I understood, to some extent.

Yengich: What was your intention at that point?

DeChristopher: My intention was to raise the prices closer to a fair-market value for that land.

Yengich: How long did it take before you actually won a bid?

DeChristopher: It was maybe 20 minutes.

Yengich: Did you think at that point you were violating any rules?

DeChristopher: I wasn't sure.

Yengich: Did you form any intention to violate the rules at that point?

DeChristopher: No.

Yengich: You go on for a period of time. Did anybody talk to you? Did anyone approach you?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Yengich: Who talked with you?

DeChristopher: There was a bidder in front of me that, when they stopped the auction, he turned around and made some comment that I don't particularly remember.

Yengich: Before that time, while the bidding was going on ... were you aware of the statutes or the criminal codes that you were violating?

DeChristopher: No, I was not.

Yengich: You were there. Did you see someone other than Mr. Boardman that you knew there?

DeChristopher: Yes, her name was Krista Bowers. She was a woman I knew from my church.

Yengich: Was there a time you turned around and looked around the room?

DeChristopher: I looked at her several times.

Yengich: Did you have any interaction with her?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Yengich: Let me ask you, what was Ms. Bowers doing at that time?

DeChristopher: She was crying.

Yengich: When you observed her, what did you do?

DeChristopher: I was certainly moved by the fact that she was crying and felt like the auction and the

Yengich: I'm going to stop you right there. ... Did you believe that she was crying as a result of the auction?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Yengich: What action did you take in that regard?

DeChristopher: At that moment, I made the decision that I had to do more to take a stand in the way of the auction?

Yengich: What was that stand that you took?

DeChristopher: I started winning parcels.

Yengich: Did you know at that time whether or not (inaudible)?

DeChristopher: I didn't understand when the time frame was.

Yengich: In fairness, did you ask anybody?

DeChristopher: No.

Yengich: How long did that go on that you were winning parcels?

DeChristopher: Fifteen to 20 minutes.

Yengich: We've seen the video today. ... Does it accurately depict what went on?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Yengich: There were other people bidding as well?

DeChristopher: Correct.

(Inaudible).

Yengich: There are some bids you win and some you don't?

DeChristopher: Correct.

Yengich: What formulated in your mind for what you would or would not bid on?

DeChristopher: I don't know that there were any specific reasons I was bidding on some and not others.

Yengich: Is it fair to say the whole thing was a spur-of-the-moment idea?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Yengich: Thank you. Did there come a time, when a gentleman, Agent Love, came to see you?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Yengich: Can you tell us what occurred then and what you did and how you reacted to Agent Love?

DeChristopher: Once they stopped the auction, the agent came to me and showed his badge and said, "Can we talk outside?" I said yes.

Yengich: Did you resist him in anyway?

DeChristopher: No.

Yengich: Did you attempt to be a gentleman with Agent Love?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Yengich: Was he [a gentleman] with you?

DeChristopher: Yes, he was.

Yengich: At that time, after that time, you spent some time with Agent Love?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Yengich: At any time during that period did he ever tell you that you had an opportunity to pay on the bids that you had won?

DeChristopher: When he first drew me out of the room, he showed me the form of the parcels I had won and pointed to the figure at the bottom of the page and indicated I owed $45,000 and some change that day. I said I do not have the ability to pay for that.

Yengich: How much money did you have in your bank account?

DeChristopher: Probably around $4,000 or so.

Yengich: At a later point, did Agent Love say you have such and such a time to come up with that $45,000?

DeChristopher: No.

Yengich: At a later time did you make an effort to do so?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Yengich: Were you successful?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Yengich: When you went into the area with Agent Love, he said how he talked with you. Did he represent the answers to the questions accurately, for the most part?

DeChristopher: You mean the answers he gave? Yes, I think that was accurate.

Yengich: At that time, there were some statements that were offered into evidence by the government that you made to him, and I want to go over a few of them with you. He showed you the bidder-registration form, and he asked you some questions?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Yengich: Including whether your signature was on the bottom and whether you had read it?

DeChristopher: Correct.

Yengich: Did he ask you the question that I asked you, whether you had read it carefully or whether you had skimmed it?

DeChristopher: He did not.

Yengich: And the answer to that would be?

DeChristopher: That I had skimmed over it.

Yengich: He asked you whether or not you had read the section pertaining to criminal and fraudulent activity?

DeChristopher: He pointed out the line before the bold line with the code. I told him I had read that line.

Yengich: Did you know what any of those numbers meant?

DeChristopher: No.

Yengich: Did he ask you on that respect whether you had skimmed it.

DeChristopher: No.

Yengich: When you sat down at that table and felt only a bidder could go in there, did anyone explain this form to you?

DeChristopher: No.

Yengich: You were then informed by Agent Love that you had bid on approximately 12 parcels and the amount that was owed. How much did you think it was?

DeChristopher: What he told me that day was $45,000.

Yengich: Did you take that as the actual amount or an estimate?

DeChristopher: He pointed at the line that says $45,203.

Yengich: He also asked you some questions about Mr. Boardman?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Yengich: Did he ask you whether you had schemed with anyone else?

DeChristopher: Yes, he did.

Yengich: What did you tell him?

DeChristopher: No, I did not.

Yengich: Did he ask you if what you bid was or was not a plan or if it was something you did on a spur of the moment?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Yengich: What did you tell him?

DeChristopher: I told him it was not planned.

Yengich: Did they arrest you at that time?

DeChristopher: No.

(Inaudible).

Yengich: And he read you your rights?

DeChristopher: Correct.

Yengich: Did he ask you questions about your intent and purpose?

DeChristopher: Yes, he did.

Yengich: And your answers to that related to (inaudible)?

DeChristopher: Yes, but I also explained to him that my intent was to draw attention to what was going on in the auction and give the government an opportunity to reconsider.

Yengich: Now at this point, you aren't in custody, were you allowed to leave?

DeChristopher: Um [pause] I don't believe that [pause] I didn't have the sense that I was allowed to leave at that time, although he didn't take me into custody.

Yengich: Where did you go from there?

DeChristopher: Once they released me, I went downstairs where the media was waiting … and I briefly spoke to the media ... and got on the TRAX right there.

Yengich: Before that day, had you planned to talk to the media?

DeChristopher: No.

Yengich: The statements to the media, were they extemporaneous?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Yengich: Before you left, did anyone — and there are very nice people who have testified, and you know all their names: Mr. Hoffman, Ms. Brown — did anyone say you had better have the money back here at 4:30 today?

DeChristopher: No.

Yengich: But you did do something in that regard, didn't you?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Yengich: [I want to ] talk about your state of mind. Were you afraid?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Yengich: Did you communicate that fear to [environmentalist] Mr. [Michael] Mielke?

DeChristopher: Yes, I did.

Yengich: Did you make a request of him?

DeChristopher: Um, I think I probably asked him for a lot of things. I told him that I needed help and that I needed to know what my options were and to know whether it was realistic that we could actually raise that amount of money.

Prosecution: Objection.

(Inaudible).

Judge: We have his testimony. Overruled.

DeChristopher: Um, he told me that there would be no problem — that we could definitely raise it, and he would provide it if necessary.

Yengich: Are you allowed to go down to Gateway [the location of the BLM office] anymore?

Prosecution: Objection, irrelevant.

Judge: Sustained.

Yengich: No further questions.

Judge: It's 12:35. I'm going to take a recess and excuse the jury. Let's come back in at 5 minutes to 1 o'clock. The jury is excused.

Prosecutor Scott Romney, starting his cross-examination: On December 19, 2008, you didn't go down to that BLM auction to acquire any oil or natural gas lease, correct?

DeChristopher: Correct.

Romney: When you woke up that day, you didn't have plans to go to the auction — go inside the auction?

DeChristopher: Correct.

Romney: And you never told anyone before that you were contemplating to spend thousands or millions of dollars to buy oil and gas leases.

DeChristopher: Correct.

Romney: In fact, you wanted to stop the auction altogether?

DeChristopher: I wanted to delay the auction so they could take another look

Romney: And that involved throwing the entire auction off kilter?

DeChristopher: Not necessarily. It was to bring attention to what was going on.

Romney: Do you recall an interview you did with Brooke Jarvis of Yes magazine?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Romney: In that interview, you spoke about your intention that day. Isn't it true you said, you know there were other activists at the auction who would have been willing to take the same risk if they had seen the opportunity.

DeChristopher: I think that had to do with my intention. I was there to stop that auction, even though I didn't have a specific plan. I felt I could be powerful enough to stop it. And I think that mind-set was powerful enough to stop it. I believe the context was regarding the commitment I had been building up over the course of 2008.

Romney: At some point you testified you originally planned to go and stop by the auction.

DeChristopher: I was planning originally on going to the protest, yes.

Romney: The demonstration, as we have dubbed it. At some point you went inside the BLM offices?

DeChristopher: Correct.

Romney: When you first went inside the BLM offices, you had no plan to participate in the auction?

DeChristopher: Correct.

Romney: In fact, you only went inside to cause a bigger disturbance than you were able to cause outside?

DeChristopher: The purpose for going inside was to have a louder voice ...

Romney: You will recall you had a radio interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now just a few days after this auction. And you'll remember you told her, 'I just decided I wanted to go inside to cause a bigger disruption.' Those were your words?

DeChristopher: Probably, yes.

Romney: And it wasn't raise the red flag or raise notice; it was to cause a disruption?

DeChristopher: If that's the words you have for that, then yes.

Romney: But you didn't go inside for the purpose of purchasing any [parcels at the] auction. In fact, you didn't think they would let you get inside.

DeChristopher: Correct.

....

Romney: You had no intention of bidding.

DeChristopher: Um, no. It was because what I'd been told by somebody outside is that security would not let us in at the door.

Romney: Fair enough. And that's because you were not a participant?

DeChristopher: Because I had no idea how things were working inside.

Romney: Fair enough. You walked up to the registration tables. Is that right?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Romney: That's when you encountered Ms. Diane McComb, correct?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Romney: That was the first time you had any idea of that you were going to attend the auction, is that fair?

DeChristopher: It was the first time that that became a very legitimate possibility is when she aksed me if I wanted to be a bidder.

Romney: Let's talk a little bit about that registration process. You didn't just waltz in … you were [contacted] by Ms. McComb.

DeChristopher: Yes.

Romney: She asked you if you were a bidder, an observer or a member of the media, correct?

DeChristopher: No. She asked me if I was a bidder.

Romney: She didn't recognize whether you were a bidder an observer or a member of the media, correct? You represented yourself as a bidder to Ms. McComb, correct?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Romney: You posed as a bidder. Those were your words to Agent Love?

DeChristopher: I believe so.

Romney: You knew that. OK let me back up. There were two tables when you walked in the lobby of the BLM offices, correct?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Romney: You said you were directed to one of the tables. You were aware that there were people being registered in on both tables, correct?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Romney: You also eventually knew you didn't have to register as a bidder to attend the auction, correct?

DeChristopher: I found that out much later in the day.

Romney: [You saw other people in the room who you knew not to be bidders, correct?]

DeChristopher: I didn't know at the time if they had signed up as bidders or how they got into the room. I didn't speak to them in the [auction].

Romney: When Ms. McComb handed you a bidder-registration form, you didn't correct Miss McComb and say, "I'm not here to bid?"

DeChristopher: No.

Romney: Nothing prevented you from saying that to her.

DeChristopher: No.

Romney: Instead you played along as a bidder?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Romney: You said you had no idea what that placard was that she gave you. Even though you were attending an auction, you didn't know what that was for?

DeChristopher: I don't think I said I had no idea.

Romney: You didn't know what it was for?

DeChristopher: I didn't understand the bidding process.

Romney: You've seen this form.

DeChristopher: Yes.

Romney: How many paragraphs total?

DeChristopher: It's four paragraphs.

Romney: You knew you were registering as a bidder (inaudible) ... ?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Romney: It's not a form you say that you just sign your name at the bottom. Is that correct?

DeChristopher: I filled out the entire form.

Romney: Which included your address, telephone number. It's an official-looking form, correct?

DeChristopher: Yes. It's that form.

Romney: You read and understood the contents of the form, correct?

DeChristopher: I skimmed over the form.

Romney: You understood it?

DeChristopher: No.

Romney: You told Agent Love that you had read it in its entirety and you understood it.

DeChristopher: If that's what he said, yes.

Romney: He didn't just refer to it. He actually got out a copy of the form and showed it to you, correct?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Romney: We saw a video of you ... filling out the form. You said it took you two or three minutes to complete it.

DeChristopher: I believe I said I was at the registration table for two to three minutes.

Romney: You were seated at the registration table?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Romney: You told Agent Love after he showed you the form, that you knew it was against the law to make bogus bids, correct? You asked him, "How much trouble am I in?" Correct?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Romney: You were fully aware of the criminal consequences of making a false bid once you filled out that registration form, correct?

DeChristopher: I wouldn't say I was fully aware. That didn't come until much later.

Romney: You knew there would be consequences?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Romney: You knew them to be criminal consequences?

DeChristopher: That was my understanding.

Romney: You knew there would be consequences because of that form?

DeChristopher: Yes, I knew there would be consequences.

Romney: And and you believed them to be criminal ones?

DeChristopher: That was my understanding.

Romney: In fact, you gave an interview with Ben Jervey of Good magazine. Do you recall that?

DeChristopher: Not specifically?

Romney: May I approach, your honor.

Judge: You may.

Romney: Do you recall that interview?

DeChristopher: I don't specifically recall that interview, but I've had a lot of interviews.

Romney: Do you recall this specific statement that you made in this interview: "I had signed a piece of paper downstairs saying it was a federal offense to bid without intent to pay, but I decided I could live with those consequences." That was your statement?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Romney: You also filmed an interview with David Sassoon. Do you recall that?

DeChristopher: Yes, I recall that specifically.

Romney: You also told him that you signed a form that you knew it was an offense to bid without intent to pay?

DeChristopher: I don't recall that. But I don't doubt that I said it.

Romney: I want to transition now to inside the auction room. I'd like to show you a photo. Are you familiar with this photo?

DeChristopher: Yes, I am.

Romney: When you went into the auction room, you took a seat. This is in the first few rows. That's you?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Romney: And this is within the first few rows of the auction room?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Romney: And you noticed that when you were in there, you testified earlier, that you were unsophisticated with how the auction worked, and you took a moment to see what happened?

DeChristopher: Correct.

Romney: So you didn't immediately go in and start bidding?

DeChristopher: Correct.

Romney: You didn't immediately go in and make a speech or yell at anybody?

DeChristopher: Correct.

Romney: You had a perfect vantage point of that screen?

DeChristopher: Correct.

Romney: And as you observed and you took a moment, it showed you what parcel ... the auctioneer was offering and what the bid price was, what the acreage of the parcel was and how much that translated into actual money that was owed?

DeChristopher: I don't think it had the total amount for each bid. I think they were totaling it up for the day. That's the sale total.

Romney: You could see, though, from this running tally that these parcels were going for thousands of dollars?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Romney: Tens of thousands of dollars?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Romney: At this point, when you were sitting there, you're still not there to acquire any oil and gas leases. Fair statement?

DeChristopher: Correct.

Romney: At some point, though, you did decide to bid?

DeChristopher: Correct.

Romney: And you started to raise the No. 70 bidder placard or paddle, correct?

DeChristopher: Correct.

Romney: And your interest at first was you were trying to force up the price of the parcel, correct?

DeChristopher: Correct.

Romney: And, in fact, you were also trying to force the competitors ... to have to pay more for their leases.

DeChristopher: Correct.

Romney: And you didn't want to win the lease, though, right? It wasn't your intention? You didn't want to be stuck with that price tag?

DeChristopher: When I started that bidding ...

Romney: You were simply bidding to harm others?

DeChristopher: No.

Romney: Do you recall doing a video interview with [KUER's] Doug Fabrizio?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Romney: Do you recall telling him that for a while you were just trying to drive the bids up so you would cost the other competitors in the room, the legitimate bidders, to have to pay thousands of dollars more.

DeChristopher: Yes.

Romney: You knew at the time of the ramifications of what you were doing?

DeChristopher: To some extent, yes.

Romney: You knew there were criminal ramifications?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Romney: At this point, when you were just bidding up the price, you knew there were criminal consequences?

DeChristopher: No, not for bidding without winning anything.

Romney: But once you won a bid, you were nervous because you knew there could be criminal consequences?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Romney: And you told Agent Love that your tactic of sabotaging was successful because it caused legitimate bidders to leave the auction room.

DeChristopher: Yes.

Romney: Now, the first lease you actually won was an accident, correct?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Romney: You were trying to do the same tactic and you get caught with it?

DeChristopher: Correct.

Romney: After you won that first lease, the floodgates were open, right?

DeChristopher: Not after the first one. That was a very small lease. And then I weighed the opportunity to buy more.

Romney: And then you won 10 or 12 in row?

DeChristopher: Correct.

Romney: You were just holding up your placard and the auctioneer kept bouncing up those numbers until you won?

DeChristopher: Correct.

Romney: Your actions at the auction to acquire an oil or natural gas lease were not in good faith, were they, Mr. DeChristopher?

DeChristopher: Can you define good faith?

Romney: You weren't a bona fide bidder? You weren't attempting to win these leases?

DeChristopher: When I was winning the leases, I was attempting to win.

Romney: But you knew you couldn't afford them?

DeChristopher: Correct.

Romney: You wanted to win them, but you didn't want to actually successfully win the leases?

DeChristopher: I didn't intend to drill for oil if that's what you mean.

Romney: Or not drill for oil?

DeChristopher: I had no intention of developing the leases in any way.

Romney: Your stated purpose from the time Dan Love took you out of the auction until today was that you wanted to sabotage the auction?

DeChristopher: No, I wanted to delay the auction so the government could reconsider and make sure they were following their own laws.

Romney: In all these interviews ... withdraw that. We heard some evidence from you and Mr. Mielke, is it?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Romney: Thank you — saying that after you were pulled out of the auction, you were going to now purchase these leases.

DeChristopher: Yes.

Romney: Is it now your testimony that ... withdraw that, when Agent Love pulled you out of the room, he didn't arrest you.

DeChristopher: Correct.

Romney: You were treating each other very gentlemanlike, and he told you he only took you out to verify whether or not you were a legitimate bidder and verify how you intended to pay for the leases that you won, right?

DeChristopher: Correct.

Romney: And he showed you exhibit No. 7, which had a bunch of leases that you won and the monies that were owed. Do you remember that?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Romney: But you didn't tell him at the time, "I have a friend who is very well-off. Let me make the call?"

DeChristopher: He didn't explain there were options for that.

Romney: And you didn't ask him?

DeChristopher: Correct.

Romney: Instead you asked Agent Love, "How much trouble am I in?"

DeChristopher: Correct.

Romney: And isn't the purpose of your telephone call to Mr. Mielke, didn't that end up in a fund that was your legal defense fund?

Yengich: Your honor, I'm going to object to that.

Judge: Sustained.

Romney: I'll withdraw the question. Mr. DeChristopher, as you have said, since this time you have given many interviews?

DeChristopher: Correct.

Romney: And on several of those you've admitted to knowing that what you did inside that auction room was a crime, correct?

DeChristopher: Correct.

Romney: That's all I have, your honor.

Yengich: Did you pay me or Mr. [Pat] Shea any money at all?

DeChristopher: No.

Yengich: Are we doing this for free? The Latin term is pro bono.

DeChristopher: Yes.

Yengich: Now Ms. [Elizabeth] Hunt is in private practice. You've given her some money. About $2,000?

DeChristopher: Yes.

[Yengich asks a question about DeChristopher's call to Mielke.]

Yengich: In this case you've spoken to a lot of people?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Yengich: And during this time you've been asked a lot of questions about what your purpose was, what your intentions were, what your goals were?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Yengich: Also you've been asked questions about what your purpose in life is and what things you believe in and don't believe in?

DeChristopher: It's been pretty all over the place.

Yengich: Mr. Romney fairly asked you about what you have told other people about that?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Yengich: He indicated things about what your intent was. Was that your intent at the time or was that your intent after the fact?

DeChristopher: It was both. [I did interviews for] newscasts with a 30-second sound bite. Some were long interviews where they paraphrased. I was expressing my overall action ... for the format of whichever interview I was in.

Yengich: For example, the print interview with Mr. Jarvis and the statement that counsel for the government read to you. ... You put that in context, correct?

DeChristopher: Correct.

...

Yengich: We can talk about the phrase you were posing as a bidder. Was that your term or the term of the (inaudible)?

DeChristopher: I don't remember.

Yengich: Those were questions [that were] asked [of] you after you had been advised that you were effectively under arrest?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Yengich: "I just decided to go inside to cause a disruption." You testified about that in court, correct?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Yengich: And then counsel asked you if that's what you meant by raising a red flag. Is that true?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Yengich: Is that the same thing?

DeChristopher: In my mind, yes.

Yengich: That's what you meant by the context and where you were asked the question [in the Amy Goodman article]?

DeChristopher: No. In that article it was mainly how I had gotten to that point of taking action on Dec. 19. And when I spoke about having the commitment to being effective enough to make an impact on this auction. The context of this conversation was about how, during the course of that year, I had made the commitment that I was going to be an effective agent of change on trying to steer us to a more … just path. I went there feeling empowered.

Yengich: Let me ask this question of you in general. The statements that you have made relative to the spur-of-the-moment thoughts you had at that time, do they remain true as you sit here right now?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Yengich: The interviews and other things you have done, those are all after-the-fact reflections on what you were doing at that time. Is that correct?

DeChristopher: To some extent. I think a lot of it was why I was prepared to take advantage of the spur-of-the-moment opportunity that I saw, and that's what a lot of the interviews with me have discussed.

Yengich: [Looking at photograph] You were turned in that photograph, at least that's how that appears to me. You are turned and looking back. Is that correct?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Yengich: Can you tell us what you were looking at there?

DeChristopher: Based on where I was looking, it was right in the room where Krista Bowers was sitting.

Yengich: And you've indicated that observing her had some impact on you.

DeChristopher: Yes.

Yengich: You've testified previously what that impact was. That photograph would reflect where you were physically, but in a sense almost mentally, is that true?

DeChristopher: Yes.

Yengich: Counsel for the government asked you a question and the phrase was employed by you or Mr. Romney that you played along as a bidder. Do you remember … was that your phrase or his?

DeChristopher: It was Mr. Romney's.

Yengich: But in effect that was what was going on here (inaudible)?

DeChristopher: Yes.

(The defense rests its case.)

Tribune reporters Aaron Falk and Erin Alberty reported this transcript.