Jill Stein Avoids Jail Time For Vandalizing Dakota Pipeline Site

Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein struck a plea deal with North Dakota prosecutors to avoid jail time for vandalizing a bulldozer at a Dakota Access Pipeline construction site in 2016.

Instead of jail time, Stein “will be on unsupervised probation for about six months and must pay $250 in fees,” The Associated Press reported Wednesday. That’s better than the two-month maximum prison sentence and $3,000 fine she could have faced.

A judge approved Stein’s plea deal Wednesday and also approved a similar plea deal for Stein’s running mate Ajamu Baraka, who also faced charges.

North Dakota issued a warrant for Stein’s arrest in September 2016 after the Green Party candidate admitted to spray-painting “I approve this message” on the blade of a bulldozer that “had been used to destroy sacred burial sites of the Standing Rock Sioux,” she said.

Stein vandalized the bulldozer to show solidarity with thousands of environmental activists and American Indian protesters who flocked to North Dakota last year to oppose the construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

The Obama administration blocked the pipeline’s construction in November after approving it earlier in 2016. Protesters argued the project could leak oil into Standing Rock Sioux drinking water and construction would cut across sacred tribal land.

President Donald Trump issued an executive order in January to approve the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines. The pipeline began pumping oil in June, and activists have dropped their legal challenges.

Dakota Access protests cost North Dakota taxpayers $38 million in 2016, paying to suppress violence and compensate owners of damaged property.

The Army Corps spent $1.1 million cleaning up protest campsites, collecting 845 dumpsters worth of trash. In total, 8,170 cubic yards of debris was removed, according to the Corps.

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