As the month of January draws to a close, and the Year of the Dog begins (Darren's Chinese Birth Year is the Dog), we wanted to get out an update to clarify what is happening with upcoming hearings and trial dates.
First of all, Darren has been formally released from appearing at the Eugene Grand Jury in February. This does not mean the Grand Jury has been cancelled! There are still a few people commanded to appear and we urge folks to support them in whatever way possible.
Since the indictments came down last Friday and arraignments of some of the indicted carried through this week, a lot more information has become clear. We now understand that the federal government intends to try all 11 together, and trial has been set to start on October 31st. It is expected to run anywhere from 5 to 10 weeks as it is a complex case involving many parties. Darren is being arraigned on his charges January 30th in Portland, Oregon and will not be requesting bail at that time.
A bright spot in the case this week was the release on bail of Daniel McGowan, Suzanne Savoie, and Jonathan Paul. Although Darren's chances for bail are slim (due to the INS-hold that remains), he was pleased to hear of people being released prior to trial. It is hoped this bodes well for Chelsea Gerlach's next detention hearing and she will be able to obtain release conditions so she does not have to await trial in a jail cell.
In case there is any confusion, Darren remains at Multnomah County Inverness Jail and we do not believe he will be transferred in the forseeable future. He loves to receive mail, and we will be updating his support website with any requests for books and magazines as he relays them.
We have updated Darren's website and turned it into an easier-to-update blog which can be found at http://freedarren.org. We will post relevant court documents, media stories and information, and you are encouraged to check it out regularly to follow the case as it unfolds. We will also continue sending out periodic updates as circumstances change.
One other thing we would like to make clear at this time is that no other organization speaks for Darren or his supporters, nor is any other group authorized to raise funds on his behalf. If you are interested in contributing to a support fund, or organizing an event in your area to raise awareness about this case, we ask that you contact us first to discuss it. We really appreciate that people want to help out and would like that to happen in a way that helps Darren's case rather than hinders it.
Thanks again to everyone;
Friends and Family of Darren Thurston