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The DeChristopher case from auction to conviction

Published March 4, 2011 1:00 pm

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This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

Auction • Tim DeChristopher disrupted a U.S. Bureau of Land Management oil and gas lease auction Dec. 19, 2008, in Salt Lake City. He won bids on 14 parcels near Arches and Canyonlands national parks and drove up prices on several others. His total tab: $1.8 million.

Sale halted • U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina, citing environmental concerns, halted the sale of 77 parcels on Jan. 17, 2009. Nearly a month later, Ken Salazar, President Barack Obama's Interior secretary, shelved the contested leases, including ones DeChristopher won.

Indictment • A federal grand jury indicted DeChristopher on April Fools' Day 2009 on two felonies. He pleaded not guilty.

Defense denied • On Nov. 16, 2009, U.S. District Judge Dee Benson refused to let DeChristopher argue in court that he placed the bids to combat the climate crisis.

Another defense setback • Benson, in a March 2010 ruling, refused to force prosecutors to turn over more documents about other bidders who failed to pay, thwarting DeChristopher's attempts to show selective prosecution.

Convicted • A jury of eight men and four women convicts DeChristopher on Thursday of both felonies after a four-day trial.

Sentencing • Benson is scheduled to sentence DeChristopher on June 23. He faces up to 10 years in prison.

The Salt Lake Tribune