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UNITED STATES v. PORTER

July 28, 1997

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
MATTHEW ALEXANDER PORTER, JR., Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MCCLURE

ORDER

 July 28, 1997

 BACKGROUND :

 On February 19, 1997, a grand jury sitting in the Middle District of Pennsylvania returned an indictment charging defendant Matthew Porter Alexander, Jr., with: engaging in misleading conduct toward other persons with intent to influence the testimony of other persons in an official proceeding, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(b)(1) (Count One); arson affecting interstate commerce, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 844(i) (Count Two); use of fire to commit a federal felony, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 844(h)(1) (Count Three); interstate transportation in aid of arson, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1952(a)(3) (Count Four); wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343 (Counts Five, Six); and mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341 (Count Seven through Eleven, inclusive). Jury selection currently is scheduled for November 3, 1997, with trial to begin as soon thereafter as feasible.

 Before the court is a motion by Porter to dismiss Count One of the indictment.

 DISCUSSION :

 Count One of the indictment states:

 
Beginning on or about October 24, 1994, and continuing through November 21, 1994, in Juniata and Northumberland Counties, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, and within the jurisdiction of this Court, the Defendant,
 
MATTHEW ALEXANDER PORTER, Jr.
 
did unlawfully and knowingly engage in misleading conduct toward other persons with intent to influence the testimony of other persons in an official proceeding by preparing and mailing to various law enforcement officials who were located in the Middle District of Pennsylvania a total of five (5) unsigned letters inter alia which contained threats of violence, including arson, against African Americans who resided in the Middle District of Pennsylvania and which purportedly were prepared by "KKK" white supremacists as well as by placing identical copies of said letters at the scene of a fire in Milton, Pennsylvania, where they likely would be secured by law enforcement officials and other persons in an effort to mislead those law enforcement officials as well as other persons into wrongly suspecting that those biased individuals and groups were responsible for the arson against the property of an African American family residing in Milton, Pennsylvania which later in fact occurred.
 
All in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1512(b)(1).

 Indictment at 1-2.

 The relevant statutory provision reads:

 
Whoever knowingly ... engages in misleading conduct toward another ...

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