Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate in last year’s presidential race who spray painted construction equipment during the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal mischief, court records filed Wednesday, Aug. 9 show.
A plea agreement Stein reached with Morton County prosecutors says the court will defer imposition of her sentence for six months, during which time she’ll be on unsupervised probation. The maximum penalty for misdemeanor criminal mischief is 30 days in jail, $1,500 in fines or both, along with a maximum of $250 in fees.
Morton County District Judge Gail Hagerty signed an order Tuesday dismissing a misdemeanor criminal trespass charge against Stein, given the acceptance of the plea agreement. In the agreement, Stein said the state has evidence that could convince a jury she spray painted “words of protest and resistance onto the shovel of a large bulldozer belonging to another” on Sept. 6 in Morton County.
Stein, whose address is listed as Lexington, Mass., signed the agreement in late April.
Law enforcement officials were called to investigate damaged construction equipment after officers were notified pipeline protesters were trespassing on private land south of Mandan, according to an affidavit signed by Arnie Rummel, supervisory special agent with the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation. A “considerable amount of damage” was noted, including paint and cut “wires/ tubing,” the affidavit said.
Officers were alerted to a video that showed Stein painting the front of one of the bulldozers with the phrase, “I approve this message,” Rummel wrote.
Stein’s running mate, Ajamu Baraka, also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal mischief, according to a separate plea agreement. Hagerty on Tuesday ordered that his criminal trespass charge be dismissed as well.
A call to the Morton County State’s Attorney’s office went unanswered early Wednesday afternoon. Stein’s attorney, Chad Nodland, didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.