Since more serious charges have been dropped, a Nevada judge on Monday reduced bail for a man and a woman accused during their high-profile arrests last summer of conspiring to kidnap police officers to draw attention to an anti-government sovereign citizen philosophy.
Gone was the tight security and phalanx of armed guards around David Allen Brutsche as Clark County District Court Judge Elissa Cadish characterized his $600,000 bail as “a little over the top, given the current state of the case.” She then lowered his bail to $200,000.
Prosecutors in September dropped the two most serious charges against Brutsche and Devon Campbell Newman — conspiracy to commit murder and attempted kidnapping with a weapon.
Brutsche and Newman have each pleaded not guilty to the remaining conspiracy charge, which carries a possible sentence of up to six years in prison. They face trial March 10.
Cadish also cut bail from $200,000 to $50,000 for Newman, a 68-year-old former paralegal who once served as a publicist for the Church of Scientology.
Newman’s attorney, Carl Arnold, said his client lives on Social Security income and is on the verge while in jail of losing her apartment and everything she owns. Arnold said outside court his client may not be able to post $50,000.
Brutsche, 42, a California ex-convict who declared during previous court hearings that the court had no authority over him, stood alone in shackles Monday and read from a yellow legal pad before the judge lowered the bail.
He is representing himself in court. He objected that he faced a higher bail than Newman and said he needed time out of jail to prepare his defense. He did not indicate he could post $200,000.
He also told the judge he’s not involved in any sovereign citizen movement, but shares the belief that he is endowed with “inalienable rights.”
“I actually do not identify with the sovereign citizens movement,” Brutsche said. “I do consider myself sovereign because everyone at the founding of America was considered sovereign.”
Chief Deputy Clark County District Attorney Thomas Carroll declined outside court Monday to say the case against Brutsche and Newman was weaker now than when they were arrested.
Police alleged that Newman and Brutsche are domestic terrorists and members of a loosely organized extremist group. Investigators alleged the two hosted training sessions about sovereign citizen philosophy, shopped for guns and rigged a vacant house to serve as a “jail” where captives could be bound to wooden beams during interrogation.
Arnold said that his review of some 180 hours of audio and video recordings collected by a police undercover officer suggested that prosecutors might have trouble proving his client agreed to do anything with Brutsche.