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Utah activist released from prison isolation unit

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 2 2015 8:50 p.m. MDT

FILE - This Feb. 28, 2011 file photo shows Tim DeChristopher outside Frank E. Moss Federal Courthouse in Salt Lake City. Environmental activist DeChristopher, who is serving a two-year federal prison sentence for interfering with a government oil and gas lease auction, has been placed in solitary confinement.  (Jim Urquhart, File, Associated Press) FILE - This Feb. 28, 2011 file photo shows Tim DeChristopher outside Frank E. Moss Federal Courthouse in Salt Lake City. Environmental activist DeChristopher, who is serving a two-year federal prison sentence for interfering with a government oil and gas lease auction, has been placed in solitary confinement. (Jim Urquhart, File, Associated Press)

SALT LAKE CITY — Lawyers for a prominent environmental activist say he has been released from an isolation unit at a federal prison and placed back into a minimum-security camp.

Tim DeChristopher is serving two years for fraudulently bidding on drilling leases near Utah's national parks in an effort to keep the parcels undeveloped.

DeChristopher called his supporters Thursday to say he was out of an isolation unit at a federal prison in Herlong, Calif. He's back in a nearby minimum-security camp with full privileges after spending 20 days in the dock.

One of his lawyers, Pat Shea, tells The Associated Press that DeChristopher was placed in confinement for an ill-advised word he used in an email to supporters. He used the word "threaten" about returning a donation that was made to his legal defense fund.

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