On July 24th, 2015, Nicole Kissane and Joseph Buddenberg were arrested and federally indicted for alleged Conspiracy to Violate the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act—Title 18, U.S.C., Section 43 (a) (1), (2) (c) and (b) (3) (A). A federal grand jury indictment alleges that Nicole and Joseph conspired to “travel in interstate and foreign commerce for the purpose of causing physical disruption to the functioning of animal enterprises, to intentionally damage and cause the loss of real and personal property, including, but not limited to, animals and records used by the animal enterprises, and caused economic damage in an amount exceeding $100, 000″ by allegedly releasing thousands of animals from fur farms and destroying breeding records in Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. The indictment also alleges that they caused economic damage to various retail and distribution businesses and individuals associated with the fur industry.
In early 2016, Nicole and Joseph both signed non-cooperating plea agreements in which they pled guilty to Conspiracy to Violate the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. On May 2nd, Joseph was sentenced to two years in prison, two years of supervised release, and about $400,000 in restitution. On June 20th, Nicole appeared before Judge Larry Burns in the U.S. District Court of Southern California for her scheduled sentencing hearing (in February of 2016, Nicole entered into a non-cooperating plea agreement in which she pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Violate the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act). Unfortunately though at her sentencing hearing, Judge Burns rejected the plea deal that Nicole’s lawyers and the prosecution had agreed to. He expressed that he was not inclined to accept the amount of prison time being requested, due to the severity of the “terror-related acts.” On July 5th, Nicole made her first court appearance since her plea agreement was denied by Judge Larry Burns on June 20th. After much consideration, Nicole decided to withdraw her plea and request a trial. She is scheduled for her next court appearance on September 27th for pre-trial motions.