Citing "substantial proof problems," prosecutors in October dropped a felonious assault charge against Mark Koernke, the militia activist and conspiracy-mongering videomaker who is accused of attacking a court official attempting to serve him with a subpoena in late 1997.
Hours later, Koernke posted $10,000 bond on a remaining bail-jumping charge in the case and was released from the Michigan jail where he spent two months.
Koernke, 40, had failed to show up to face the assault charges and was only captured when police on routine marijuana eradication patrol spotted him trying to flee in disguise.
The assault charge was dropped after Koernke's lawyer, Michael Vincent, presented evidence that the court process server had provoked the attack by a rifle-wielding Koernke. "We proved that the chief witness was committed to doing anything possible to get something on Mark Koernke, including a willingness to lie," Vincent said.
The court official, Roger Gainer, was serving a subpoena in the trial of John Stephenson, later convicted of the murder of William Gleason. Stephenson and another man who is still a fugitive, Paul Darland, were accused of killing Gleason because they suspected he was informing on them to Koernke. Stephenson and Darland, both former Koernke followers, had fallen out with Koernke while Gleason remained loyal.
Koernke is well known in the militia movement as "Mark from Michigan," a host of the incendiary "Intelligence Report" shortwave show and the producer of a series of antigovernment videotapes.
Koernke had continued to broadcast his radio program while on the lam, allegedly threatening a federal prosecutor in one of his diatribes.