Attorneys for Sister Megan Rice, Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli suggest the three protesters never compromised the nation’s defense when they broke into the facility and covered the wall of a uranium storage building with banners, slogans and human blood. All three, identifying themselves as members of the group Transform Now Plowshares, were convicted of violating the federal Sabotage Act in February and each was sent to prison. Rice is currently serving a 35-month sentence, while Walli and Boertje-Obed are serving 62-month sentences.
At the time of the July 2012 break-in, Rice was 82 years old, Walli was 63 and Boertje-Obed was 57. In their appeal to the Sixth Court, lawyers for the protesters claim they wouldn’t have been capable of compromising the national defense even if they wanted to. “In fact,” the appeal states, “(the protesters) testified they intended not to disrupt operations at Y-12, but ‘to bring healing and forgiveness and love and the experience of genuine friendship, empowerment’”.
The appeal also suggests federal prosecutors misrepresented the protesters’ threat to national security by comparing their actions to those of the 9-11 terrorists.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit consists of 16 judges and is based in Cincinnati, OH.