By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: February 10,
Filed at 6:14 p.m. ET
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) —
Federal prosecutors withdrew a subpoena Tuesday ordering Drake University
to turn over a list of people involved in an antiwar forum in November,
as well as subpoenas ordering four activists to testify before a grand
Terrell, leader of the Catholic Peace Ministry and one of the four, told
a crowd of about 100 cheering people outside the federal courthouse: “We
made them want to stop, and we have to make sure they never want to do
The U.S. attorney’s
office had no immediate comment on why the subpoenas were withdrawn just
one day after federal prosecutor Stephen O’Meara issued a statement acknowledging
an investigation was under way.
said the focus of the probe was alleged trespassing at the Iowa National
Guard headquarters in Johnston that happened while a protest against the
war in Iraq was taking place nearby on Nov. 16. He said the protest, in
which 12 were arrested, was not the problem.
forum at Drake University was held the previous day.
a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office, said the investigation was
not over, but he would not comment further.
of the probe, prosecutors had served a subpoena last week asking the university
to turn over the names of participants in the forum.
requested campus security records about the forum, sponsored by the Drake
chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, which included sessions on nonviolence
training and the Iraq war.
was preparing legal motions to fight the subpoena when Steve Serck, a lawyer
representing the school, received word it had been dropped.
would have argued that it chilled the First Amendment rights of free speech
and free association of our students,” he said.
liberties advocates welcomed the withdrawals, but said troubling questions
remain. The Iowa Civil Liberties Union pledged to file legal motions
and “use other avenues” to find out why the subpoenas were served in
the first place.
it was just a trespassing investigation, why seek the membership records
of the National Lawyers Guild?” asked Ben Stone, executive director of
the ICLU. “If this was an attempt to chill protests
through the aggressive policing of a run-of-the-mill crime, we’ve got a
serious problem in America.”