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2 Montana Freemen Plead Guilty

Two more Montana Freemen pled guilty Wednesday to federal criminal charges. Members of the militia group engaged in an 81-day standoff with the FBI in 1996.

Twelve other Freemen went on trial on charges in a 40-count federal indictment, although nine of them boycotted the session and had to be dragged to a holding cell to watch the proceedings on closed-circuit television.

A jury of seven women and five men, plus two alternates, was chosen in a day-long session. They will begin hearing opening arguments Thursday morning; the trial is expected to last four to five weeks.

In an appearance before jury questioning began, Dana Dudley Landers, 48, of Four Oaks, N.C., pleaded guilty to interstate transportation of stolen goods, mostly vehicles and office equipment purchased in North Carolina with worthless Freemen checks and brought to Montana.

U.S. Attorney Sherry Scheel Matteucci said Mrs. Landers agreed to testify against the other Freemen, and then face state charges in Colorado.

Prosecutors alleged the vehicles were to have been used by the Freemen in kidnapping public officials for "trials" before a Freemen tribunal.

Later in the day, 69-year-old Emmett Clark pleaded guilty to threatening to kidnap and murder a federal judge.

Matteucci said Clark did not agree to testify against the other Freemen.

The charges against the remaining defendants include conspiracy to commit fraud; wire, bank and mail fraud; armed robbery of TV news crews; and threatening to kill a federal judge.

Six Freemen were tried this spring on similar charges and five were convicted. Several other Freemen have pleaded guilty in plea bargain deals.

Written by Tom Laceky
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