Man who protested inside oil pipeline under construction in Michigan guilty of trespassing


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BATTLE CREEK, Michigan — A 36-year-old man who spent about 10 hours inside an oil pipeline under construction in southern Michigan has been found guilty of trespassing and resisting police.

The Battle Creek Enquirer reports ( ) that Christopher Wahmhoff told a Calhoun County judge Tuesday that if he "was getting put away for 50 years it would be worth it."

Wahmhoff, of Kalamazoo, was a Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate. He was charged with obstructing police and trespassing during the June 24, 2013, protest at an Enbridge site near Marshall.

The protest was part of an effort to halt the Canadian company from building a new line. The site is near where a line ruptured in 2010, spilling 800,000 gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River system. The line runs from Sarnia, Ontario, to Griffith, Indiana.

Assistant Prosecutor Brandon Hultink said Wahmhoff had the right to picket but not enter the property and stop work.

Wahmhoff faces up to two years in prison at his Dec. 29 sentencing. A restitution hearing on the costs could be held in January.

"It isn't going to stop the fight against Enbridge," Wahmhoff said of the verdict. "This action did what it was supposed to."

Defense attorney John Royal said Tuesday that he would seek supervision under probation instead of jail time for his client.

"He is a law-abiding citizen operating on strong moral principles and there is no need for him to be incarcerated, because it would not fulfill any logical purpose," said Royal.

Information from: Battle Creek Enquirer,

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