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Monday, 26 March 2018 14:48

Defense: FBI pushed for attack, not Stein, Allen and Wright

• Leader & Times
“In the end, this case is really based on what Curtis Allen thought, what he said and who he associated with.”
This began opening statements from Allen defense attorney Richard Federico in the case against Allen and co-defendants Patrick Stein and Gavin Wright, who are accused of plotting to bomb a housing complex/mosque area in Garden City.
“The prosecution said during its opening statements how there would be criticism of the FBI, which was also talked about during jury selection,” Federico said. “In this case, there was nothing going on unless it was planned by the FBI. You’ll hear hours of recordings between the defendants that will have some strong and foul language, which was also talked about at the beginning, but you’ll only hear one about what was going on behind the curtain.”
Federico then played part of a recording between a pair of the FBI agents in the case which heard one of them say “We have to be careful of how we build this” before ending shortly afterward. Federico then also talked about prosecution witness Dan Day, who was introduced in the prosecution’s opening.
“You will see in the evidence that Dan Day was recruited,” Federico said. “He lived in Garden City and his task was to infiltrate the Kansas Security Forces. The FBI had targeted these defendants and Curtis Allen is only here because of association. You will also come to see Dan Day is not a truthful guy – he was shown to have lied to Social Security and he was paid tax-free by the FBI. You’ll also see that Lula Harris, Curtis Allen’s girlfriend, was also paid by the FBI and she was the one who called the Liberal Police Department after the fight she got in with my client and this time it was different because everything had been manufactured by the FBI all along.”
Federico’s opening also brought up Allen’s past military service, his deeply conservative political views and how he was heavily involved in “prepping” and arranging for potential disasters. He also reiterated the prosecution’s statement of being a member of a militia group is not illegal and brought up how the KSF had done many good works in past disaster events and helping with cleanup. Federico also pointed out how Allen’s ownership of firearms was all legal and brought up other past working history, including working on setting up an ammunition business in Liberal with a colleague.
“There is no evidence my client had any contact with anyone about this plot,” Federico said. “There is nothing to show he knew anything about a plot. You’ll hear a lot of recordings where there is discussion about politics and prepping, and a lot of it is bluster, nothing more. In the end, you will see how the FBI directed everything and there was no conspiracy here.”
Stein defense attorney James Pratt then spoke before the court regarding his client.
“Patrick Stein is not guilty, he did not conspire with the other defendants in this alleged plot,” Pratt began. “There will be evidence here that showed his hatred consumed him, we won’t insult you by trying to deny what he’s said, and you will hear his own words. He has a deep love for this country and its freedoms and had legitimate concerns about out of control terrorism and hid behind some extreme rhetoric.”
Pratt then briefly talked about some of Stein’s background from growing up in Garden City and how he was heavily involved with his family’s farm.
“So how’d he come to think Muslims were a threat? The FBI and Dan Day,” Pratt said. “You will see how Dan Day led them to the Mary Street location and did other things to stoke those fears, none of this would be possible without the FBI and its informant. And you will see how everything learned from Dan Day was all negative – there was nothing positive that was shown, nothing about the Muslim population simply trying to live their lives. You will even hear him say ‘Do we start with the feds or the cockroaches?’ and you will hear how defendant Stein was encouraged by Day ‘for the good of the cause.’”
Pratt then also talked some more about the work of the KSF and also brought up the extreme tension that was surrounding the 2016 presidential election.
“That was a period of time of extreme chaos, the election was extremely heated, and all of that was fueled by the media,” Pratt said. “There were very rarely any positive stories about politicians and with the media fueling that fire, it seemed like a situation where anything could happen.”
Pratt also talked about how his client would not have been able to take part in such a plot due to several factors.
“The prosecution talked about how the defendants were rejected by the KSF, but not one KSF member went to law enforcement because not only were the defendants lazy and incompetent, but because they were known to bluster frequently,” Pratt said. “For several months, the FBI did nothing, no surveillance, and eventually they sent in their paid informant to stir the pot. You will need more than to despise defendant Stein or have a desire to despise him in order to find him guilty.”
Wright defense attorney Kari Schmidt then began her opening statement.
“In the summer of 2016, Gavin Wright was a very lonely man,” Schmidt began. “He had left behind friends and his job and many other things in Manhattan to help family in Southwest Kansas. He had a good life in Manhattan and did many good things for the people there, including working with soldiers at Fort Riley. His brother Garrett had a modular home business and eventually suggested Gavin open his own business, which he did, and called it G&G Homes.”
But with all the work commitments and clients coming through, Wright still had to frequently travel, which contributed to his loneliness, which led him to eventually hiring Allen to help with the business. The two had many interests in common, Schmidt said, including politics and prepping as well as opinions about the direction of the U.S. and potential consequences of a Hillary Clinton presidency.
“He attended groups of like-minded people and eventually met with Patrick Stein and Dan Day,” Schmidt said. “He felt Patrick Stein was over the top, but he did come to be friends with Day, who felt there should be broader discussions, which led to Gavin suggesting his G&G Homes business. And there were others who came sometimes. The recordings you’ll hear will show the defendants talked about anything and everything, which were mostly bull sessions and later moved into more fantastic ideas of how to salve their fears about what was going on in the country.”
Schmidt then talked about the events of Oct. 11, 2016, when the defendants were arrested and talked briefly about his interviews with the Liberal Police Department and FBI agents.
“When you view everything, it will show Gavin Wright chose friends who were bad for him and a bad influence,” Schmidt said. “You’ll also hear the bull sessions he had with others and hear how he talked, but he talked like them so he could fit in. The evidence won’t show he agreed to help make any weapons of mass destruction or lied to the FBI.”




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