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Aposhian seeks dismissal of criminal charges

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Rick Egan | Tribune file photo W. Clark Aposhian, seen in this 2005 photo, has been charged with four misdemeanors, including domestic violence. Aposhian has taught concealed-carry classes for legislators, public officials and the governor and hundreds of other Utahns, but a conviction could cost him his right to own guns.

By Marissa Lang

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Feb 12 2014 08:03PM
Updated Feb 12, 2014 09:09PM

Holladay • Utah’s leading gun lobbyist believes Cottonwood Heights prosecutors are pursuing a criminal case against him for political reasons, his attorney said Wednesday.

Clark Aposhian, 49, has been charged with misdemeanor counts of criminal trespass, criminal mischief, domestic violence in the presence of a child and threat of violence.

All told, he could face a maximum of up two years in jail if convicted.

On Wednesday, Aposhian’s attorney Morgan Philpot asked the city prosecutor to drop the charges, but the prosecution declined.

"It is obvious by the decision of Cottonwood Heights today that there are still serious concerns about the political nature of law enforcement in Cottonwood Heights," Philpot told The Trubune after Wednesday’s hearing. "Mr. Aposhian, if necessary, is going to call for an independent investigation and review."

Philpot will appeal to the judge in the case next month and file a motion asking the judge to formally dismiss the charges, which have been stalled in Holladay Justice Court, pending the outcome of two civil cases against Aposhian.

No plea negotiations are in the works.

Aposhian has been embroiled in several legal disputes stemming from a Memorial Day incident in which he was accused of driving a 2.5-ton military vehicle onto his ex-wife’s driveway and threatening to run over her new husband and his car.

Last month, 3rd District Judge Andrew Stone denied a protective order request from Aposhian’s ex-wife, Natalie Meyer, and ruled the woman had no reason to fear the gun advocate.

In his ruling, the judge wrote that there was no abuse or criminal trespassing on the Meyers’ property, and that Aposhian’s behavior did not "amount" to the criminal conduct with which he’s charged.

Because the threshold of proof is lower in civil cases, Philpot said this ruling should prove there is no basis for a criminal charge.

Justice Court Judge Augustus Chin agreed to take Stone’s ruling into consideration when determining whether or not the charges should stand.

"Mr. Aposhian has twice litigated the facts in this matter and has been found in both instances innocent of causing any harm to Mrs. Meyer," Philpot said. "He’s innocent."

But prosecutors refused to back down Wednesday and will be fighting Aposhian’s move to dismiss the case.

According to charges, Aposhian drove a 2.5-ton military vehicle onto his ex-wife’s driveway and threatened to run over her new husband and his car.

Aposhian has insisted he used the driveway only to make a U-turn in the cul-de-sac where the family lives and later received a hostile phone call from Meyer accusing him of damaging the property.

Meyer has testified that Aposhian threatened to "bury" and "end" him, which he interpreted as a death threat. That’s when he called police.

When Aposhian returned later that day to the Meyer home — he has said he was going to survey the alleged damage he caused to the driveway — officers were waiting for him outside.

He was armed at the time of his arrest — with a gun and a knife — and that ultimately swayed 3rd District Judge Terry Christiansen to issue a stalking injunction against Aposhian, ordering that he come no closer than 150 feet from his ex-wife’s new husband, Ronald Meyer.

But what happened that day failed to convince Judge Stone that Aposhian was dangerous and a protective order, which would have prevented him from contacting his ex-wife, was necessary.

Both judges ruled Aposhian could regain access to his arsenal, which reportedly contains more than 300 firearms that have been confiscated for the duration of these legal proceedings.

mlang@sltrib.com

Twitter: @Marissa_Jae

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