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2018-04-12 / Voices

Letter To The Editor

Dear Editor:

Thank you for your support throughout what has been both an exciting and trying year. After yesterday, we have much reason for optimism. Yesterday was a good energy day. I am now absolutely sure we can win this fight in the end, and we are winning this fight now.

Ruling on several important issues in court yesterday, Judge Lee Christofferson admonished prosecutors for withholding key evidence, set deadlines for them to furnish that evidence to my legal team, reaffirmed our right to collect additional evidence from militarized DAPL security firm TigerSwan, and extended the timeline of my trial to November. This is all tremendous news and my heart is filled with hope.

My case, and HolyElk Lafferty’s, are truly unique. No other water protectors have been granted the right to pursue this scope of evidence. We aren’t playing it safe, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. You can watch the video to see our legal team discuss yesterday’s hearing’s monumental outcomes.

I will be clear that, even with all the positive outcomes, our fight is not without serious challenges. The forces mobilized against us continue to stand their ground more strongly than ever, as evidenced by Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier’s testimony yesterday, under oath, denying TigerSwan’s influence over the policing at Standing Rock.

Even so, we had a great moment in court when, under cross examination by our chief counsel, Daniel Sheehan, Sheriff Kirchmeier admitted that attendance records of law enforcement meetings not only exist but show that three TigerSwan employees (whose names he conveniently forgot) attended those meetings regularly.

With our now-confirmed ability to aggressively pursue these records, and with the judge’s stern warning to prosecution and the sheriff that he will “vigorously enforce” our right to them, the pieces are falling into place. The sheriff has until May 1 to give us all we’ve asked for.

Our beautiful battle began in the camps of Standing Rock and now echoes in the courtrooms of North Dakota. We’ll prove that law enforcement colluded with TigerSwan and pipeline parent company Energy Transfer Partners. We’ll show that they ran a violent, racist, no-holds-barred campaign against our prayerful circle.

The coming months promise much hard work as our team collects evidence and builds our landmark defense that can protect our rights to free speech and protest into the future. I ask that you continue to stand with us by sharing our exciting news with your friends and relatives. Let’s keep the circle strong. We have much to do.

Pilamaya - Thank you for standing with us!

Chase Iron Eyes
Lead Counsel
Lakota People’s
Law Project

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