Entrapment for dummies

He never carried out an attack. He never built a bomb. He got a lot of his ideas from a paid FBI informant. And Eric McDavid faces 20 years in prison because the government considers him a terrorist.

Last week, McDavid’s attorney filed a flurry of motions in the U.S. District Court to dismiss charges of conspiracy against the Auburn man, arguing that the government’s case is “corrupt.”

Almost a year has passed since McDavid and two friends were arrested in the parking lot of an Auburn Kmart and charged conspiracy to commit arson. The three were self-described anarchists and had discussed taking “direct action” in the name of the Earth Liberation Front.

The arrests were largely due to the work of a paid FBI informant who went by the name of Anna and who over time, according to court documents, befriended the three, paid for the their lodgings, provided transportation and at times chided them for not sticking to a specific plan. (See “Conspiracy of Dunces,” SN&R Feature Story, July 27, 2006.)

“When the informant pays for every necessity of your life, maintains a place, flies you out to the place, provides the literature, drives them around in her car, keeps them together—that’s crossing the line,” McDavid’s attorney Mark Reichel said.

Reichel said the paid informant in the case went to great lengths to create a conspiracy that otherwise would not have developed. “If you don’t bring a case, you probably won’t get paid as well as you would like,” Reichel said of the informant.

McDavid’s friends Zachary Jenson and Lauren Weiner agreed to plead guilty and cooperate with prosecutors earlier this year—and are now free on bail. January 13 will mark McDavid’s one-year anniversary as an inmate in the Sacramento County Jail.