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November 23, 2014

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Man who pleaded guilty to police kidnapping plot violates probation conditions

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Leila Navidi

David Brutsche appears in Las Vegas Justice Court at the Regional Justice Center on Friday, Aug. 23, 2013.

Sovereign Citizens in Court

Sovereign citizen David Brutsche appears in Las Vegas Justice Court at the Regional Justice Center on Friday, August 23, 2013. Launch slideshow »

A man sentenced to five years' probation for plotting to kidnap Metro Police officers in order to advance his anti-government ideologies was arrested last month for obstructing a sidewalk with an ice chest, violating the terms of his release from jail.

David Allen Brutsche, 43, had reached a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty in February to one felony count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping after a months-long investigation by Metro determined that he planned to hold mock trials for random officers, torture and execute them before posting video of the acts online. The police department linked him and co-defendant Devon Campbell Newman to the anti-government sovereign citizen movement, labeling them domestic terrorists.

At sentencing April 7, Brutsche apologized and renounced his involvement with the extremist group, pledging to cooperate with probation officers.

Clark County District Judge Elissa Cadish ordered Brutsche not to associate with any known sovereign citizens and to find a job other than selling water on the Las Vegas Strip. The judge told Brutsche that he risked a prison term of six years if he didn't abide by those conditions.

Just two months after his release, Brutsche was arrested June 8 for obstructing a sidewalk, a misdemeanor offense. A probation violation report was issued against Brutsche when officials realized that he had been unemployed and wasn't keeping up with supervision requirements, said Clark County District Court spokeswoman Mary Ann Price.

A Metro Police spokesman did not immediately provide more information about the June 8 arrest.

At a hearing Monday in Clark County District Court, Judge Joseph Bonaventure opted not to revoke Brutsche's probation, ordering the homeless man to live in a shelter and find work.

According to court records, Brutsche had attempted to modify his probation conditions in May so that he could be granted limited contact with Devon Campbell Newman, his co-defendant in the kidnapping case. Campbell had Brutsche's van, the defendant told Cadish, and he wanted to get it back. The judge denied his request.

Metro Police began its investigation of Brutsche after arrests for driving violations and misdemeanor offenses like selling bottled water on the Strip without a license.

When Brutsche and Campbell were arrested Aug. 20, police pursued charges of attempted murder, attempted kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping. Prosecutors in April dropped the two more serious charges.

The FBI and U.S. attorney's office, which typically investigate terrorism threats, were never involved in the Las Vegas case against Brutsche and Newman.

Newman, 68, a former paralegal who once served as a publicist for the Church of Scientology, denied being affiliated with the sovereign citizen group. She pleaded guilty in December to a misdemeanor conspiracy to commit false imprisonment and was sentenced to one year of probation.

Brutsche is an ex-felon and child sex offender, while Newman only has speeding, parking and vehicle registration tickets in her background.

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