Show to benefit suit against FBI
EarthFirst! environmental activists Darryl Cherney and Judi Bari were driving together in Oakland in August 1990 when a pipe bomb went off in their car, crippling Bari and injuring Cherney.
Within hours the activists were arrested. The FBI and Oakland police accused them of making the bomb, but the Alameda County district attorney’s office declined to pursue charges, saying there was insufficient evidence.
Bari – who has since died of cancer – and Cherney responded with a civil lawsuit against the two agencies.
In April, almost 12 years later, the case goes to trial at the federal courthouse in Oakland.
On Friday, Cherney will perform in Grass Valley as part of a multi-city tour to raise funds and people’s interest in the trial. A guitarist and folk singer, Cherney is billing the event the “EarthFirst! vs. the FBI Roadshow. Music. Slides. Humor. Inspiration.”
“We want to pack the courtroom,” Cherney said by phone Monday. “What we’re saying is that they knew we were innocent; they knew it. Yet they told the world we were guilty.”
For example, Cherney said agents initially claimed the bomb was in plain view on the floor behind the Bari’s seat, when actually it was well-hidden underneath her seat.
A federal Department of Justice attorney for the FBI and the attorney for the Oakland Police couldn’t be reached by phone Monday afternoon.
Cherney said the case is one of only a handful against the FBI to make it to court.
He claims the FBI and Oakland police never conducted an investigation to find the real bomber. Cherney’s legal team is seeking $20 million, but, “We would take less money if they would just conduct a legitimate investigation.”
Nevada City folk singer U. Utah Phillips will emcee Friday’s event and also will testify at the trial, because he was among a group of people with Bari the two days preceding the car bombing, Cherney said.
For more information or to car pool to the trial, call Lorraine Webb at 265-5662
WHAT: 3Earth First! vs. the FBI Roadshow²
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday
WHERE: Center for the Arts, 314 W. Main Grass Valley
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