Now that the Soviet-style show trial of former National Alliance Chairman Shaun Walker and his two cohorts, Travis Massey and Eric Egbert (all pictured at left), are long over and the three have been buried in the American gulag, the wife of Shaun Walker, who sat through the trial and who has remained a faithful stalwart can now begin to tell her story. Because Shaun Walker has filed an appeal, Mrs. Walker is somewhat limited in what she can say.
However, Mrs. Walker has started a website, http://shaunwalker.com/, in which she begins to release bits and pieces of the story as she knows it. As you read it, you will find that the Federal government scooped up a couple of small-time operators named Keith Cotter and Brad Callahan, indicted and incarcerated Cotter, threatened Callahan with some unspecified action in order to get them to sing the prosecutors' tune. And they blew up a couple of ordinary garden-variety confrontations into a "civil rights conspiracy".
The indictment and trial phases were covered in detail in a couple of other blogs. If you're not familiar with the case, click HERE to read all posts on the indictment phase on the Alaska Pride blog. Click HERE to read all posts on the trial phase on the Alaska Pride blog.
Here's Mrs. Walker's story about the events, as posted HERE:
Here are a few questions and answers we put together to help people that are not familiar with the legal aspects of the case understand what exactly went on.
In June 2006, Shaun Walker, and two others were each charged with one count of conspiracy to interfere with civil rights and one count of interference with a federally protected act in connection with alleged attacks on Mexican-American James Ballesteros and an unknown Native-American man. Each count had the potential maximum penalty of up to 10 years per count. The indictment alleged that Walker and two others had provoked fights in public places to make minorities “afraid” to appear in public, work and live in Salt Lake City.
The three were charged based upon FBI and grand jury testimonies made by two key witnesses: “career criminal” and key witness Keith Cotter and witness Brad Callahan.
The first “assault” was on New Year’s Eve 2002 and the second “assault” on March 15th, 2003. Walker briefly met friends at a pub/restaurant on New Year’s Eve with the intent of walking downtown to view the New Years firework celebration – he left prior to the altercation and wasn’t made aware of the fight until years later. He was not present nor was he ever implicated of being present on the March 15th, 2003 incident.
On April 20th, 2007, a jury found the three guilty of both counts. The two key witnesses that testified against the three defendants were: Keith Wayne Cotter and Brad Callahan.
Cotter was rewarded well for his testimony on this case (given immunity) and another case. Callahan, the second key witness, based solely on my own personal speculation, was given immunity for crimes he was implicated in for his testimony.
On August 13th, 2007, two of the three were sentenced. Walker was sentenced to 87 months and Eric Egbert 42 months.
Was anyone hurt in any of these actions?
On January 1st, 2003 – Salt Lake City Police Department filed a “Simple Assault” report based upon an a New Years Eve altercation at O’Shucks pub/restaurant; bartender James Ballesteros refused medical treatment and went snow skiing the following day.
To date (November 2007), no “victims” have come forward from the alleged second incident on March 15th, 2003.
What were the charges?
One count of conspiracy to interfere with civil rights and one count of interference with a federally protected act. Each count had the potential maximum penalty of up to 10 years per count.
Who is Keith Wayne Cotter?
Keith Cotter was one of two key witnesses in the Walker case. During the trial, Egbert’s attorney called Cotter a “felon”, “coward” and “liar”. I am in full agreement.
As it is difficult to keep all of Cotter’s legal entanglements straight, I’ve highlighted them as incidents 1-3. Incident 3 was a separate legal case -- none of the three in the Walker case were implicated in Incident 3.
Cotter plea bargained with the federal prosecutors. He was not charged with two “assaults” (New Years 2002 and March 15, 2003) in exchange for his testimony and was a reduced sentence for another assault (Incident 3) -- the beating of a black man on March 2005. The March 2005 assault was aggressive enough that the victim was hospitalized. Cotter will be released from jail in Spring 2008. [Ed. Note: Cotter has actually already been released.]
1. New Year’s Eve 2002 Incident: Cotter admitted to grabbing the bartender in a headlock and pulling him outside. Cotter testified that Walker told him to lure the bartender outside so they could beat him up because the bartender had dark skin. Cotter stated that he and the three beat the bartender to send a message to the community that “non-whites” were not welcome in Salt Lake City.
Author’s [Mrs. Walker's] note: Absolute Lie. The truth: Walker met friends at O’Shuck’s around 11:15 p.m. on New Years Eve 2002. His plans were to walk with friends to the Gallavan Center to view the midnight New Years Eve firework show. During his brief time there, Brad Callahan had told him that Cotter (whom Walker had met once before three days prior) was passing out National Alliance “Stop Immigration” stickers which was upsetting pub/restaurant patrons. Walker instructed Callahan to tell Cotter to stop passing out stickers. Walker said that there were others there that he did not know -- he assumed they were friends of Cotter’s. Walker left to view the fireworks; he was not aware nor did he participate in any altercations that evening.
2. March 15th, 2003 Incident: Cotter testified that Massey told him he had a hatred for Native Americans and that Massey wanted to beat a Native American at a cafe.
Author’s [Mrs. Walker's] note: I don’t know much about this incident. Shaun Walker was never implicated in being present at this altercation. To date (November 2007), a “victim” has never been located.
Cotter testified that he and others from Utah were waging a “race war” and planned the beatings of non-whites.
Author’s [Mrs. Walker's] note: Again, Cotter lied. The National Alliance does not promote or tolerate criminal acts. Within months of being introduced to the Salt Lake City Unit, Cotter was shunned.
3. March 2005 Incident: Yet again, Cotter claims that “someone” told him to participate in an assault! This was the only incident that Cotter was charged with based upon his “cooperation.” He participated in the brutal beating of an unknown black man that put the man in the hospital.
Who is Brad Callahan?
Brad Callahan was the other key witness in the Walker case.
Brad Callahan testified that he wasn’t at O’Shuck’s on New Years Eve but that he heard Walker, Massey and Egbert bragging about taking “shots” at the bartender later in the evening.
After testifying, he walked by the defendant trio and said, “for what it is worth, sorry brothers.”
Author’s [Mrs. Walker's] note: Callahan lied. But why? Makes one wonder what “they” have on Callahan. More to come on Callahan…. Also, Callahan claims not to have been at O’Shuck’s on New Years Eve. He testified he got off before 11:00 p.m. and went to Walker’s house and crashed on the sofa. Walker and others state Callahan WAS at O’Shuck’s on New Years Eve. Again, why did he lie about not being at O’Shucks?
Callahan is weak, dishonorable, cowardice and a liar. Although Walker is in confinement, he is a “free man”; Callahan will never be a free man.
Was Walker friends with Cotter?
No. They had only met a handful of times. The first time at a holiday party three days prior to the New Years Eve incident. Cotter claims he was a member of the National Alliance but Walker denies that he was ever a member.
Shortly after Cotter’s introduction to the local Salt Lake City National Alliance unit, he was shunned and forbidden to attend meetings -- he was rejected. Members recognized early on that Cotter was trouble and unsalvageable. Cotter claimed to be a National Alliance member but I’m still awaiting clarification – I’ve received mixed messages on whether he was or was not a member for a brief period.
What is a PSR (pre-sentencing report)?
In 1987, Congress adopted a comprehensive federal sentencing guideline system with the intent to reduce sentencing variations by judges and thus equitable. Judges review two key factors when determining the sentencing: criminal history of the defendant and the severity of the offense.
The guidelines provide direction on how to categorize an offender’s criminal history (categorized from I through VI); as Shaun Walker had no prior criminal history he was classified at the lowest Category I level.
The guidelines also provide a method for calculating the offense level; a number between 1 and 43.
After looking up the numbers assigned to each of the two factors, judges look the two numbers up on a two-dimensional grid which yields a narrow range of months from which they will choose.
The judge determines the defendants criminal history and severity of the offense by reviewing the facts in the pre-sentencing report (PSR). The PSR report is prepared by a Bureau of Prison probation officer. The probation officer includes what sentence a defendant should received under federal guidelines and a judgment on whether the case merits a different sentence. Both sides (prosecutor and defendant) can contest the report and the judge can depart from its findings.
Under normal circumstances, a judge will sentence within or close to the pre-sentencing report. The pre-sentencing report outlines the offenses and includes and extensive background of the convicted person’s personal and family life.
Taking responsibility/showing remorse?
One section of the PSR allows for downward sentencing departures (less time) if the convicted “accepts responsibility”. Walker did not accept responsibility for the alleged crime, as he was innocent. The altercation that took place on New Years Eve occurred after he left and was a result of Cotter and Callahan’s drunken and unsolicited actions. Walker also denied having any conspiratorial influence on the 2nd Incident and was not present.
U.S. Attorney for Utah Brett Tolman said that neither of them took responsibility for their actions before the court. Of course they didn’t take responsibility for their actions – they weren’t guilty of the crimes they were charged and convicted of!
What was the recommended sentence on Walker’s PSR? What was the sentence?
The proposed sentencing on Walker’s pre-sentencing report (PSR) report was 24-30 months. Prosecutors did not contest the 24-30 month recommendation.
On August 13th, 2007, the judge sentenced Walker to 87 months (7 years and 3 months); an amount more than 3 times the recommendation from the Bureau of Prison officer.
How did the sentence increase from 24-30 months to 87 months?
Per Walker’s report, based upon the 2006 edition of the Guidelines Manual, he was assigned 17 Offense Level points for: Two counts Interference with Federally Protected Activity and a victim related adjustment for selecting a victim based upon perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation.
As expected, he did not receive any downward departures for accepting responsibility for his crimes.
The recommended sentence in the pre-sentence report based upon the total offense level of 17 points and no criminal history falls in Zone D and the recommendation was 24 to 30 months.
During the sentencing hearing, Judge Benson threw out all (both) base charges and changed it to the following:
- 14 points aggravated assault
- 5 points serious bodily injury
- 4 points leadership role
- 2 points restraint of victim
- 3 points perceived minority victim
- 1 point multiple fight
A total of 29 points and 87 months incarceration.
In 2006, Utah federal district courts sentenced as follows: 69.6% within guidelines, 1.1% above guidelines and 29.3% below the guidelines. As this was a politically charged case, Walker was one of the 1% unlucky. He received a sentence more than three times that as outlined as the guidelines on his pre-sentence report.
Why were they charged on the federal level, not state?
NO RESPONSE YET
Why didn’t any of the three enter into a plea agreement?
Innocent men do not plea bargain.
Per the fiscal year 2006 report (most current available), Utah data shows 96.1% plea bargained and 3.9% were convicted at trial. It is common knowledge that defendants who plea bargain are typically given reduced sentences.
Did Walker talk to the government at all?
What kind of activist work has Shaun done?
NO RESPONSE YET
What is the National Alliance?
Contrary to what Cotter testified, there is NO informal and formal faction of the National Alliance. The National Alliance is a legitimate political and media organization that does not tolerate or promote violence. Period.
The National Alliance has prepared a short pamphlet that describes its mission and goals. Click HERE to view it.
So, acording to Mrs. Walker's recollection of events, Shaun Walker was sentenced to 87 months in jail for committing NO CRIME. He was convicted strictly because of his politics.
And if it can happen to him, it can happen to you...or me.
During the trial of the Shaun Walker trio, another white nationalist made the legal news when Curtis Allgier, while being transported, overpowered his escorting corrections officer, shot and killed him, but was recaptured shortly thereafter. The Utah media failed to adequately distinguish between Shaun Walker and Curtis Allgier, characterizing them equally as "white supremacists".
Nothing could be further from the truth. While both believed in white nationalism, the two could not be more different. Curtis Allgier was a freak who vandalized his body with tattoos from top to toe, and a chronic lawbreaker who never amounted to anything, although he wasn't exactly dealt the best hand. Shaun Walker was an honorably-discharged U.S. Marine who became a molecular biologist, and, after joining the National Alliance in 1998, catapulted his way to the chairmanship in just five short years. Curtis Allgier deserves a bullet in the back of the neck. Shaun Walker deserves our support.