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Four indicted over attempt to intimidate judge

A Stillwater resident is one of four Twin Cities men indicted in federal court this week for attempting to prevent a U.S. District Court judge from performing her duties.

John Howard Pelton, 67, was charged with one count of conspiracy to impede an officer and one count of obstruction of justice. If convicted, he and two others face a potential maximum penalty of 16 years in prison.

The indictment alleges that from before March to April 21 of this year, the men "knowingly and intentionally conspired to prevent by force, intimidation and threat a federal judge from presiding over a criminal trial," according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The others indicted are Robert Bonine Beale, 65, of North Oaks; Frederick Ogan Bond, 62, of Champlin; and Norman William Pool, 43, of Blaine.

According to an indictment filed Monday, the men plotted to intimidate Judge Ann Montgomery so that she would not hold a trial involving Beale, a millionaire businessman who opposes the U.S. tax system. Beale was convicted later of one count of felony conspiracy to defraud the United States, five counts of tax evasion and one count for failing to appear in court.

The men are alleged to have held meetings in which they set up a "common law court" -- over which Beale presided and "Almighty Yahweh" had exclusive jurisdiction -- to try the judge, who they intended for law enforcement agencies to arrest using purported warrants signed by Pelton and Pool. Further, the men planned to gather supporters to stage a protest during Beale's court proceedings, the indictment states.

At the courtroom, 30 to 40 of Beale's supporters were to make a citizens' arrest of Montgomery, according to recorded telephone conversations among the men.

"The problem here is that you've already been adjudicated on this through the common law court, it's against their jurisdiction," Pelton allegedly told Beale in an April 3 telephone call while Beale was in Sherburne County Jail.

"I'm telling the judge that they don't have jurisdiction and the case has already been dismissed. That's what I'm gonna tell them. And I'm gonna hold [Montgomery] in contempt and issue a warrant for her bond. And then I'm gonna tell the bailiff; 'Take her out of the room.' And if he doesn't do it, then I'm gonna say: 'Look, if you don't obey my orders, we're all here gonna arrest you.'"

Beale, a founder and former CEO of Comtrol Corporation, a computer device-maker, was initially indicted on tax evasion charges in January 2006, for failing to pay personal income tax on $5.6 million, and that he owed more than $1.6 million in back taxes and penalties. After failing to report for an August 2006 trial, he was arrested in Florida more than a year later.

According to media reports, Beale mixed religion and interpretations of the U.S. Constitution to justify his anti-tax stance.