Deputy U.S. marshals confiscated a fake wooden firecracker labeled "Addam Bomb" from a spectator in the trial of the Singer-Swapp case, which continues in U.S. District Court.
The confiscation came at the conclusion of a court session Wednesday, when Bill Morrison lawyer for defendant Addam Swapp approached one of Swapp's wives, Heidi Singer Swapp, in the hallway outside the courtroom. He told her that before she could return to the court, she had to speak with the judge overseeing the case.So Morrison, federal marshals, assistant U.S. attorneys and Heidi Swapp went to talk with U.S. District Court Chief Judge Bruce S. Jenkins. When they emerged from Jenkins' chambers a few minutes later, Heidi Swapp looked flushed.
She said she will be able to go back into the courtroom and that she was not going to be arrested. Other than that, she said she didn't want to talk about the incident.
A federal source said the fake bomb was red, with a fuse, and the words Addam Bomb were on it. It was small, about the size of a spool of thread.
One man who saw the fake bomb before it was confiscated said it came with a folded instruction sheet with information to the effect that if it's put on a parking meter it would keep meter maids away, or if it's put in a police station it would cause officers to shoot at each other.
It was strictly juvenile humor, he said.
The incident enlivened an otherwise dull afternoon, during which lawyers argued outside the presence of the jury about testimony from Summit County Sheriff David Fred Eley.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Lambert wants Eley to testify concerning a warning he gave federal officers when they arrived outside the Singer-Swapp compound in Marion, Summit County, soon after the Jan. 16 bombing of the nearby LDS Kamas Stake Center. He wanted the jury to know why officers didn't just walk up to the homestead and knock on the door.
One reason, according to Eley, was that a month and a half earlier he had a confrontation with an armed and threatening Addam Swapp.
With the jury gone, having been dismissed early, Eley testified that he told Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms special agents to "stay off of the (Singer-Swapp) property."
Last Oct. 29, he said, he went to the homestead to talk with Swapp. He and a deputy parked their car and went through a gate. Both men were in uniform, he said.
He heard a yell, and Addam Swapp came out of a storage shed.
"He told us to stop, ordered us off the property. . . . He had what looked like long-barreled revolvers in western-style holsters." The holsters were strapped to Swapp's hip.
Eley said Swapp pulled a revolver and pointed it at Eley. Then he took out the other with his left hand, and kept both pointed at the officers. The lawmen didn't draw their sidearms, he said.
The sheriff said he was just there to talk.
"He told me we were on hallowed ground; if we didn't leave there would be bloodshed, something to that effect," he said.
Two or three small children went behind Swapp, and Eley was aware of somebody else being in the shed, he said.
"He kept ordering us off the property. My deputy at that time said we'd better leave."
The officers turned to leave, and when Eley's back was to Swapp, "a shot was fired," he said. Swapp had fired into the air, according to the sheriff.
Eley told Swapp he had gone too far and he would return with a felony warrant.
Swapp said that if Eley came back, "there would be bloodshed and it wouldn't be his," the sheriff said.
He obtained a warrant, but did not try to serve it at the homestead. He relayed all this information to federal officers.
Defense lawyer John R. Bucher objected to the testimony, saying it did not pertain to the events of January, the period covered by the indictment.
The problem is that this incident for which nobody is charged in this trial might prejudice the jury. "I think that he's got a point," Jenkins said of Bucher's argument.
"Why is it relevant at all as to the existing federal counts you've got here?" the judge asked Lambert.
Lambert said it shows Swapp's intent to resist arrest, because he didn't want any law officers on the compound's "hallowed ground," and shows he was prepared to kill an officer.
But Jenkins advised, "I think we should all focus on the January incidents."
On Thursday, Jenkins said Eley's testimony could be used to show Addam Swapp's intentions. However, Eley did not detail for the jury his Jan. 16 conversations with federal officers about the October incident.
Presumably, ATF Special Agent Tom Whitman will discuss that later in the trial.
On Wednesday afternoon, prosecutors spent hours attempting to establish the fact that the damaged stake center affected interstate commerce. The government must prove it did affect it, or the bombing charges can't be proven. The federal anti-terrorist law is based on the ability of Congress to regulate commerce.
Testimony by officials of the two LDS wards that used the stake center, Bishop Paul Woolstenhulme of the Oakley Ward and Bishop Lambert H. Lewis of the Rhodes Valley Ward, established that together the wards collected close to $400,000 yearly.
The money goes into church funds that are used worldwide, according to testimony.