May 2, 2016, San Diego – This morning in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, Joseph Buddenberg was sentenced to two years in federal prison for Conspiracy to Violate the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. The sentencing follows his signing a non-cooperating plea agreement in which he plead guilty to conspiring to free thousands of animals from fur farms throughout the U.S. and to cause damage to businesses associated with the fur industry.
“Today’s sentencing must be understood in the context of the complete illegitimacy of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act,” said Rachel Meeropol, senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the lead lawyer on several constitutional challenges to the law. “This is a law bought and paid for by corporations that profit from the exploitation of animals, in the service of nothing but their own bottom line. Prosecuting non-violent liberation of animals as ‘terrorism’ is a transparent attempt to silence an entire movement. The AETA violates fundamental constitutional principles of free speech and due process, and we will continue to challenge it wherever it is used. ”
Buddenberg and his co-defendant Nicole Kissane were indicted under the AETA last July. Earlier this year, both signed non-cooperating plea agreements; Kissane’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for June.
The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.