Judge sentences Line 3 protester to probation in felony obstruction case
An Aitkin County jury found Mylene Vialard guilty earlier this year. She attached herself to a self-supporting bamboo structure near an Enbridge pumping station in Swatara.
AITKIN — A 54-year-old Boulder, Colorado woman will spend a year on unsupervised probation as her sentence for felony obstruction of justice stemming from an Enbridge Line 3 protest in 2021.
Senior Judge Douglas P. Anderson sentenced Mylene Vialard via Zoom on Monday, Nov. 20, while also imposing minimum fines.
An Aitkin County jury found Vialard guilty in a September trial. Vialard was one of two people who attached themselves to a self-supporting bamboo structure in the driveway of an Enbridge pumping station near Swatara.
Vialard’s defense lawyers asked the judge to consider sentencing her to a misdemeanor given her lack of criminal record and the outcomes of similar Line 3 protester cases. Anderson said there were grounds for the downward departure, but he did not lower the level of charge.
A motion from the defense for a new trial remains under consideration by the judge and will be heard Dec. 14. Vialard’s attorneys raised a number of concerns about the handling of the case by both the prosecuting attorney and the judge in bringing the new trial motion.
There are other Line 3 related cases still moving through the state court system.
A joint trial last week in Aitkin County resulted in gross misdemeanor convictions for two 67-year-old women. Marian Moore of Minneapolis and Michele Naar-Obed of Duluth were each found guilty of trespassing on critical public service facilities, a gross misdemeanor, as well as misdemeanor unlawful assembly.
Both took part in the same protest action in January 2021 at an active pipeline construction site in Macville Township.
Sentencing in those cases is set for Jan. 8.
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