reporter Jeff Toquinto has been unable to confirm the existence of such a law school today in Chicago. The school could have been one which offered courses by mail at the time, authorities say.
Updated January 25, 1997
The following are by the Associated Press
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Looker granted more time to prepare motions
WHEELING (AP) _ The leader of
the Mountaineer Militia has been granted more time to file pretrial motions
in his defense against charges he plotted to destroy the FBI complex in
The decision this week by U.S. District Judge Frederick Stamp
gives Floyd "Ray" Looker until April 3 to present motions in addition to
other motions he already filed this month, a court official said.
Updated March 17, 1997
Looker seeks to have indictment thrown out
WHEELING (AP) _ One of the
four indictments against the Mountaineer Militia's commander should
be dismissed because the FBI
launched an investigation before
there was evidence of a crime, his
Meanwhile, the Navy said
Thursday that Okey Marshall Richards Jr., the FBI's informant and
the center of its case, was never a
Navy SEAL as he had boasted.
Floyd "Ray" Looker's motion to
dismiss one indictment contends the
FBI began investigating him and
the militia because of antigovernment beliefs up to two months
before Richards claimed that militiamen discussed federal "targets."
Looker and six others with militia ties are accused of plotting to
blow up the FBI's $200 million
Criminal Justice Identification
Services Division in Clarksburg,
about 120 miles south of Pittsburgh.
Looker's lawyer, contends
FBI's approval, and not later, as an
FBI special agent in charge of the
investigation testified in October.
Looker, who has fired two government-appointed lawyers, is tech
nically representing himself in the
case, but his motions were prepared by Cipriani, his standby
His motions were among dozens
filed on behalf of the defendants
from West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania this week in U.S. District
Court, where they are set to be tried
Special Agent J.C. Raffety said
that he was approached by Richards, who had been used as an
informant in the past, after the
Oklahoma City federal building was
destroyed on April 5, 1995.
Raffety said he told Richards
the FBI could not investigate based
solely on Looker's antigovernment
statements, but that he would be
interested in what Richards was
able to learn.
He testified the FBI's formal
investigation began after Richards
reported that, during a meeting on
June 4, 1995, at a 600-acre farm in
Lewis County, militia commanders
discussed federal targets "to be neutralized" in the event of a conflict
with the government.
Cipriani contends an improper
investigation violating Looker's
First Amendment rights began
when Richards joined the militia
with Raffety's tacit approval.
"The argument we've made was
the whole investigation was tainted
because it was begun improperly,"
Cipriani said. "Our argument was
that, when Raffety told Richards to
go see what you can find out, at that
point it became an investigation."
Defense lawyers have attacked
the credibility of the informant, who
defaulted on a lawsuit over a failed
business venture, is divorced three
times, and owes more than $33,173
in child support.
The Navy said records show
Richards was not a SEAL, but it
could not disclose whether he
received an honorable discharge.
Richards, who is under government protection, made hundreds of
tape recordings during the 16-month
investigation that led to the arrests
on Oct. 11. Then, the FBI said,
Looker tried to sell for $50,000 photograph copies of FBI center
blueprints made by a Clarksburg
Motions by Cipriani and the lawyer for fire Lt. James "Rich" Rogers also argue that the indictment
accusing the two men of providing
support or resources for a terrorist
act should be dropped because it is
And Cipriani accused the government of illegally using the grand
jury process to subpoena Looker's
wife and a minister, the Rev. Butch
Paugh, in hopes of getting incriminating testimony.
If the indictment is dismissed,
then charges against Rogers would
be dropped. But Looker would still
face charges in three other indictments that accuse him of conspiracy to manufacture and sell
explosives, and illegally bring
explosives across state lines.
Five of the defendants have
been released from custody pending
trial. Looker and Jack A. Phillips
of Fairmont, who is accused in the
conspiracy to manufacture explosives, remain in federal custody.
The other defendants presented
motions asking to be tried separately.
Updated March 7, 1997
Militia leader parts ways with defense strategist
WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) _ Mountaineer Militia leader Floyd "Ray" Looker said he will do fine without the services of an Arizona paralegal he hired to plan his trial defense.
Paul Andrew Mitchell of Tucson, Ariz., said he severed his relationship with Looker last week because he was not getting paid.
The decision leaves Looker on his own about six months before trial, but he said in an interview from the Northern Regional Jail in Moundsville that he will be fine without Mitchell's help.
"He's not my chief strategist," Looker said Friday night. "I'm my chief strategist."
Looker and six others from West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania are charged in what prosecutors have described as a plot to blow up the FBI's $200 million fingerprint center in Clarksburg.
Mitchell crafted a number of documents and motions for Looker, who is representing himself after firing two court-appointed lawyers.
Among other things, they demanded a special three-judge panel to hear the case, attacked the federal grand jury process and questioned the qualifications of Attorney General Janet Reno and others.
But Mitchell never got the chance to present his belief that a number of federal officials from U.S. Attorney William Wilmoth to President Clinton received kickbacks for the militia's takedown.
Mitchell contends Clinton himself got $35,000 for each of the four indictments returned in the case.
Looker also believes in the kickback theory but would not say whether he planned to pursue Mitchell's strategy of trying to subpoena Clinton to ask him about the allegations.
"A war is fought with many strategies, many tactics. If you can fight the war without ever firing a shot, then you're considered a more capable commander," Looker said.
It may be just as well he lost Mitchell's services.
Franklin Cleckley, professor at the West Virginia University Law School and former supreme court justice, reviewed Mitchell's documents and found them to be "more of a crusade than a legal defense."
"These motions that were filed, I think they somewhat underscore my concern when a defendant facing serious criminal charges decides to go pro se (represent himself)," Cleckley said.
Mitchell, who calls himself "counselor at law" and claims to operate an Internet-based law school, said the militia paid some of his office expenses but that he was owed $7,000 when he left the case.
"I realized I was being put in an impossible situation to do all the work, not get paid and then get criticized for it," Mitchell said. "So I put a halt to it."
Either with or without Mitchell's services, lawyers for the six other clients may not want to be in the same courtroom with Looker when he presents his defense this August.
Jerald Jones, lawyer for Jack Phillips of Fairmont, said he will likely seek a separate trial for his client. Jones said he believes the other defense lawyers share his concerns.
"I think there's always a concern when you have a defendant representing himself, that in the process of trying to have his own case, he could do a lot of damage to his co-defendants," Jones said.
At trial, Looker will have a lawyer on hand to answer questions, but he will be responsible for crafting his own motions, questioning witnesses and presenting opening and closing statements.
Looker said that he should not be counted out.
"It's like playing a game of chess," Looker said. "Until you make the last move, the game is not over."
Updated February 25, 1997
Looker will represent himself
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) _The Mountaineer Militia leader who fired two court-appointed lawyers has been granted his wish of representing himself during his trials in August in Wheeling.
Floyd "Ray" Looker will present his own opening and closing statements and will question witnesses in U.S. District Court, according to a magistrate's order filed on Wednesday.
William Cipriani, Looker's third court-appointed lawyer, said he does not know what duties that leaves for him.
"Frankly, I'm not exactly sure until I get a written order from the judge specifying exactly what's expected of me," Cipriani said Wednesday in a telephone interview from his Wellsburg office.
Looker is accused with six other men from West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania in an alleged plot to blow up the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services complex in Clarksburg.
Looker, 57, of Stonewood, Harrison County, initially made his request to represent himself at a hearing in which Stephen D. Herndon, his second attorney, was dismissed on Dec. 13.
He reiterated his request at a hearing on Monday, Jan 13.
Looker said Wednesday night in an interview from the Northern Regional Jail in Moundsville that he noticed the coincidence of the unlucky dates but that he did not feel unlucky.
"Unlucky for them, not for me," said Looker, who has attempted to file 18 motions with the help of an Arizona man, Paul Andrew Mitchell of Tucson, whose help Looker has enlisted.
Under Magistrate James E. Seibert's order, Cipriani will act on a standby basis to answer Looker's questions and to step in if Looker decides he doesn't want represent himself after all.
Looker also asked the magistrate Monday to allow Mitchell to serve as a second court-appointed counsel.
Seibert rejected Looker's request because Mitchell is not registered with the federal district court.
In fact, Mitchell is not registered to practice law in either Arizona or West Virginia. He describes himself as a "counselor at law" who has been retained to write legal briefs for Looker.
In other developments, two Ohio men who were released on bond on Christmas Eve have pleaded innocent to charges of selling explosives to the Mountaineer Militia, a lawyer said Wednesday.
Imam Lewis of Cleveland and James Johnson of suburban Maple Heights were the last of seven suspects to appear for initial hearings and arraignments Jan. 10, said Jolyon McCamic, Lewis' lawyer.
Their hearings were delayed while they fought extradition to West Virginia and sought release on bond. Extradition became a moot point when they were released on $5,000 bond on Dec. 24.
One other suspect, Clarksburg Fire Lt. James Rogers, has been released on bond. Looker, Jack A. Phillips of Fairmont, Edward F. Moore of Lavalette, and Terrell Coon of Waynesburg, Pa., remain held without bond.
Updated January 17, 1997
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