U.S. prosecutors request more time to prepare case against former Manitoba reservist, Patrik Mathews
Need to review evidence supercedes right to a speedy trial, say U.S. attorneys
U.S. prosecutors say more time is needed to work through the "voluminous" evidence in the complex case against Patrik Mathews, an alleged white supremacist group member and former Manitoba reservist.
"It is in the interests of justice for defence counsel to have a period of time to receive and study the discovery in this complex case," the motion says, noting the defence lawyers have agreed to the delay.
Discovery refers to the process before trial in which each party shares the evidence gathered in the case.
Last month, a federal grand jury in Maryland indicted Mathews, 27, Brian Lemley Jr., 33, and William Bilbrough, 19, with firearm and alien-related charges. Mathews and Lemley are also facing additional counts in Delaware. If convicted, Mathews could face up to a maximum of 90 years in U.S. prison.
Mathews disappeared from his home in Beausejour, Manitoba last August amid allegations he was a recruiter for The Base.
At the time, Mathews was a combat engineer with the 38 Canadian Brigade Group in Winnipeg, though the military said then it was investigating those allegations and fast-tracking his request to be released from the military.
U.S. prosecutors allege all three men belonged to a violent white supremacist group called "The Base."
In Monday's motion, government attorneys asked U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang to push back a potential trial date beyond the 70 days typically mandated under federal law. They suggested re-grouping in early March to talk about a potential schedule.
"This case is unusual and complex owing to the nature of the prosecution, which involves multiple types of overlapping conduct and indictments of overlapping defendants in two federal districts," the document states.
The motion also provides a more detailed glimpse into the nature of that discovery, which the government says includes the following:
- About a month's worth of CCTV and "oral bug" recordings.
- Undercover FBI recordings.
- Jail call recordings.
- Search warrant results from four locations in Maryland and Delaware.
- Search warrant results from at least 15 email accounts and online messaging platforms.
- Financial records.
- Telephone records.
Mathews, Lemley and Bilbrough were arrested in January.
In court documents, prosecutors allege that Mathews videotaped himself advocating for killing people, poisoning water supplies and derailing trains.
They also allege that Mathews, Lemley and Bilbrough had discussed violently disrupting a Jan.20 gun-rights rally in Richmond, Va., in hopes of inciting civil war.
Bond hearings set for Georgia defendants
Meanwhile, three other alleged Base members arrested in Georgia as part of an undercover FBI operation remain in custody. Luke Lane, Michael Helterbrand and Jacob Kaderli are facing charges of conspiracy to commit murder and participation in a criminal gang.
It's alleged the three plotted to kill a married couple they believed was part of the local anti-fascist movement.
Bond hearings — similar to bail hearings — for Helterbrand and Kaderli are set to to take place in a Georgia Superior court this Friday.
Court documents have previously linked Lane, Helterbrand, Kaderli, Bilbrough, Lemley and Mathews at a Base training camp that took place last fall in Silver Creek, Ga., consisting of about a dozen group members. It reportedly included firearms and medical training.
Prosecutors also believe that Mathews stayed in Silver Creek ahead of that camp.
In a bond motion, Kaderli's lawyer Daniel Morgan argues, "Defendant poses no risk to community, is not a flight risk, poses no risk to intimidate witnesses, and is not a risk to commit any felony while out on bond."
Prosecutors want evidence protected in separate case
Last week, in a case against another alleged Base member, a Wisconsin judge issued a protective order on evidence gathered against Yousef Barasneh.
Prosecutors had argued there could be a "serious safety risk" to people involved in the investigation, including undercover officers.
"Unnecessary disclosure of such information would be detrimental to an ongoing Investigation," court documents say.
It's alleged Barasneh plotted with other Base members to vandalize property connected to African Americans and Jewish Americans, and then spray-painted a synagogue in Racine with anti-Semitic symbols in September.
Barasneh was indicted by a grand jury earlier this month. His trial is set to begin on April 13. He has pleaded not guilty.
Separate court documents also place Barasneh at the Georgia training camp last fall alongside the other men.