Tim leaving courtroom on Monday.

By Alex Chadwick

The trial of climate activist and Mountainfilm friend Tim DeChristopher goes to the jury today, with a verdict possible before day’s end.

Tim, a festival guest for the last two years, is being tried on two federal felony counts that could get him ten years in prison for disrupting an oil and gas leases auction in the last days of the Bush Administration. He is charged with – and does not dispute – placing winning bids on parcels that were being auctioned for development by the Bureau of Land Management, which controls huge ranges through the west. Tim said he acted because the reality of climate change is growing, and because time is running out, and because he didn’t think there was any legal means to challenge the Bush energy policies.

After two years of delays, the trial is now underway – thanks to the Justice Department of the Obama Administration. A federal prosecutor has argued this week that the case is about what happened, not why. The judge has supported that narrow approach, meaning that Tim is not allowed to talk about the reasons behind his acts of civil disobedience. His lawyers have managed to slide in some references to Tim’s concerns, but late Wednesday the judge settled on a set of jury instructions that will make acquittal more difficult. Closing arguments are Thursday morning. Then Tim’s fate lies in the hands of a dozen people who have sat through an entire trial of one of the world’s leading climate activists without hearing even two minutes of testimony about the coming catastrophe in the world their children will inherit.

Updates coming as the trial continues….

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