As a protest, he bid on an oil lease, won, and couldn’t pay.
Environmental and leftwing campaigners, from actress Daryl Hannah to film maker Michael Moore and writer Naomi Klein, immediately denounced the sentence as excessive.
At a vigil outside the Salt Lake City courtroom where sentencing took place, supporters of DeChristopher’s Peaceful Uprising civil disobedience movement shouted: “Justice is not found here.”
As Bidder No 70, DeChristopher disrupted what was seen as a last giveaway to the oil and gas industry by the Bush administration by bidding $1.8m (£1.1m) he did not have for the right to drill in remote areas of Utah. He was convicted of defrauding the government last March.
In a phone conversation with The Guardian, a day ahead of sentencing, he said he was expecting jail time: “I do think I will serve some time in prison. That is what I think will be the next chapter in my life.”
DeChristopher’s lawyers had argued that his actions in December 2008 were a one-off, and that the judge should show leniency. They argued DeChristopher had not intended to cause harm.
However, Judge Dee Benson said DeChristopher’s political beliefs did not excuse his actions.
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- thegreenurbanist said: His testimony was so subversive and enlightening.
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