Wisconsin woman pleads guilty in Gogebic Taconite 'raid'
One of a dozen people who participated in a "raid" on a Gogebic Taconite drilling site last year pleaded guilty to felony theft and misdemeanor damage to property in circuit court in Hurley last week.
One of a dozen people who participated in a “raid” on a Gogebic Taconite drilling site last year pleaded guilty to felony theft and misdemeanor damage to property in circuit court in Hurley last week.
Katie Kloth, a 27-year-old resident of Weston in central Wisconsin, was one of about a dozen masked people who jumped out of the Iron County woods at a drilling exploration site in June 2013. After 15 months, Kloth is the only person charged in the incident.
Kloth took the cell phone of a Gogebic Taconite biologist, and protesters caused some damage to drilling equipment.
Kloth is expected to be sentenced in about 60 days. She could face a year in jail. Two other misdemeanor counts were dismissed. Her attorney, John Bachman of Eau Claire, said that one of the reasons she pleaded guilty was to avoid a trial and protect other protesters.
“She could be asked about who else was there, and she can’t refuse to answer,” Bachman said. “She’s given up her right to remain silent. She could say ‘I don’t want to say,’ but then the judge can find her in contempt of court.”
Iron County District Attorney Marty Lipske said that if authorities learn the identities of the other protesters, they will prosecute them as well. He said he hopes Kloth’s plea will mean mining protests will stay peaceful.
“I would hope it would be a message to those who would go beyond and threaten people and damage property and assault people,” Lipske said.
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