DES MOINES, Iowa — A federal appeals court on Monday upheld an eight-year prison sentence for an environmental activist who attempted to sabotage construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Jessica Reznicek pleaded guilty in June 2021 to a charge of conspiracy to damage an energy facility for vandalizing construction sites on the 1,200-mile (1,930 kilometer) pipeline in 2016 and 2017.
Iowa U.S. District Judge Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger included a terrorism-related enhancement in her sentencing, finding the crime was “calculated to influence or affect the conduct of the government.” Reznicek appealed this improvement, arguing that it was acting against a private company.
But the appeals court found ‘any error was harmless’ in Ebinger’s sentencing because the judge noted that she would have imposed the eight-year sentence regardless of the terrorism enhancement, the Des Moines reported. Register.
A lawyer for Reznicek declined to comment on the court’s decision.
Ruby Montoya, another activist who acted with Reznicek, pleaded guilty to one charge in the incident. But she tried to withdraw that plea, arguing that she had been unfairly pressured to enter it.