This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
It will be months, at least, before a federal court hears the case against a Tooele County man accused of trying to detonate an explosive at a Bureau of Land Management cabin in northern Arizona.
Before setting another status hearing for November, Magistrate Judge Paul Warner asked federal defender Lynn Donaldson for a "best guestimate" of the time he'd require to review more than 170 DVDs from a yearlong sting operation on William Keebler and his small Stockton militia.
Donaldson said that if one person spent 12 hours a day, six days a week, it would take a year to watch all the footage.
Facetiously, Warner responded that Donaldson should set aside 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. each day. More earnestly, he wondered if Keebler could help point Donaldson and his staff to the relevant portions of evidence, but Donaldson said after the hearing that few jails are likely to grant the access necessary to put a significant dent in the legwork.
An extensive review of the evidence is necessary, Donaldson told Warner, because "to be candid with the court, as you get down to the last few days of recordings, it's a very different picture than we hoped to paint for a jury."
Keebler, 57, is accused of leading an anti-government militia composed of about eight members including two undercover FBI agents and one informant as the group scouted targets that included BLM and FBI offices and a mosque in Salt Lake City.
Charging documents say an undercover agent showed him a video of a pipe bomb explosion and offered to build a similar device for Keebler.
Keebler requested two, documents say: one to blow up the unoccupied BLM cabin in protest of perceived federal government overreach and another in case they encountered law enforcement in the aftermath.
Agents recorded Keebler attempting to remotely detonate the first explosive.
As one of a half-dozen Keebler associates on hand to show support and exchange a few words with the defendant, Lor Potts after the hearing described the mountain of evidence provided by the prosecution as a "tactic" and the FBI's undercover technique as "manufacturing crimes."
"It's almost like they have to justify having jobs," Potts said.