By 1977, Leonard Peltier was the only remaining individual the FBI could blame for the deaths of the two agents. The charges against Jimmy Eagle had been dropped—the government stipulated that he was not on the reservation on the day of the firefight. (However, FBI documents later revealed that the government decided to dismiss charges against Eagle so that "the full prosecutive weight of the Federal Government could be directed against Leonard Peltier.") Dino Butler and Bob Robideau were acquitted in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in July 1976.
The Butler/Robideau trial had uncovered much FBI misconduct, such as tampering with witnesses and evidence, perjury, counterintelligence-type activities and tactics used against AIM, and substantial evidence indicating there was a full scale paramilitary assault on Pine Ridge by the FBI and other law enforcement officials on the day in question. The jury as a result concluded that Butler and Robideau were acting in self-defense.
Peltier's defense team had this same evidence and more. Yet they would never be be able to present a major portion of it to the jury.
The government clearly was determined to convict Peltier and succeeded. Leonard Peltier was found guilty not because he was guilty, but because crucial aspects of his trial were manipulated to favor the prosecution and, consequently, cause a conviction.
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