Four Montana Freemen Found Guilty
Four central figures of the Montana Freemen — leader LeRoy Schweitzer, Dale Jacobi, Daniel E. Petersen Jr. and Russell D. Landers — were found guilty in July of the main charges in a federal conspiracy and bank fraud case.
But the jury deadlocked on many of the charges against a dozen Freemen, leading to a mistrial on 63 counts of the 126 total charges. Only one defendant, Landers, was convicted of all the charges brought against him.
Prosecutors had called the conspiracy a "fraud of epic proportions," involving 3,432 checks totaling $15.5 billion. Of that amount, they said there were actual losses of $1.8 billion. The conspiracy of the Freemen, who subscribe to white supremacist "common-law" ideology, allegedly dated to 1993 and only ended after an 81-day armed standoff with federal authorities in 1996.
Before this summer's trial, three other Freemen had pleaded guilty to various crimes rather than face a jury. Prosecutors now say they plan to retry all 11 Freemen who were not convicted of all counts on at least some of the charges.