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Aposhian considering plea deal in criminal case

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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 Apr 14 2014 05:34PM
Updated Apr 14, 2014 08:53PM

Holladay • A plea bargain may be in the works for Utah’s leading gun advocate, Clark Aposhian, who has been battling criminal charges for almost a year.

Aposhian, 49, faces misdemeanor counts of criminal trespass, criminal mischief, domestic violence in the presence of a child and threat of violence, which altogether could amount to a maximum penalty of up to two years in jail.

It was not immediately clear what the plea bargain would entail, but Aposhian’s attorney, Morgan Philpot, said Monday they were "considering" their options.

Holladay Justice Court Judge Augustus Chin scheduled May 12 for both sides to argue over whether or not there is probable cause in the case.

Philpot, who has alleged Cottonwood Heights prosecutors are pursuing the case for political reasons, said the city has asked the judge to rule on that issue before the case can move forward.

"There have been determinations in this case that are very vindicating for Clark," Philpot said. "We believe there is really persuasive evidence that suggests there is no probable cause here."

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.

In February, 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.

Aposhian’s ex-wife is appealing that case.

Meanwhile, Aposhian is appealing an earlier ruling by 3rd District Judge Terry Christiansen that resulted in a stalking injunction ordering that Aposhian come no closer than 150 feet from his ex-wife’s new husband, Ronald Meyer.

Christiansen’s ruling was made largely in response to the information that Aposhian was armed at the time of his arrest after he drove the army truck onto his ex-wife’s driveway.

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 went to survey the alleged damage — officers were waiting for him.

Both district judges have 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. But he is still barred from possessing them because of the pending justice court charges.

mlang@sltrib.com

Twitter: @Marissa_Jae

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