Coyotes and Town Dogs

EarthFirst! and the Environmental Movement

by Susan Zakin



Not only had his cause attracted the Big Cowboy Kahuna Gerry Spence, but it had also enlisted the help of Sam Guiberson. With his familiarity with recording devices and counterculture-inspired interest in government surveillance Guiberson became one of the country's foremost wiretapping experts.



The defense team was depending on his expertise in wiretapping. Guiberson had made a career out of convincing juries that government agents psychologically manipulated people to say things that sounded incriminating on tape. A former documentary filmmaker, he had used his own expertise with technology to achieve a command of evidence that overshadowed his opponents'. It was Sam's Byzantine computer program that gave the defense instant access to an intimidating crush of transcripts and motions. Sam was indispensable in other ways, too. His to-the-manner-born Texas affability had cast him in the role of go-between. When the feds wanted to take care of business, they called Sam.



On the last day before recess, Skip Donau approached the prosecution with his deal. To his surprise, they were willing to accept most of it.... During the week-long break, Guiberson guided the two camps through intense negotiations. Once the plea bargain was under way, Gerry Spence bailed.... Spence wasn't hitting the right notes. Wellborn Jack had been slightly more on the mark. But both attorneys were performers, not negotiators. Their involvement was over. Now it was up to Sam Guiberson, Dave Foreman, and the local tough boys.