Makah whalers reject plea deal for illegal hunt

Five members of the Makah Nation of Washington rejected a plea agreement for participating in an unauthorized whale hunt.

The men had agreed to plead guilty for violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act. They wouldn't have had to serve time in prison under the agreement.

But the deal fell apart in court on Monday when the hunters learned the federal government would seek to bar them from hunting while they were on probation. They said that issue hadn't been discussed during negotiations.

"I have no choice but to go all the way now," Wayne Johnson told the Associated Press said after the hearing. "You can't trust Uncle Sam."

U.S. Attorney Jeff Sullivan said the issue was discussed but that it might be taken off the table for future talks. But one of the hunter's lawyer said it would be hard to negotiate again.

The hunters still face a trial in tribal court for hunting without tribal permission.

Get the Story:
Plea deal with 5 Makahs whalers fails (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer 3/25)
Makah whalers' plea deal collapses (The Seattle Times 3/25)
Tribal Whalers Reject Plea Deal in Wash. (AP 3/25)
Plea deal for Makah whalers falls apart (The Tacoma News Tribune 3/24)

Relevant Documents:
Tribal Council Statement | Makah Tribal Whale Hunt | Marine Mammal Protection Act

Court Decisions:
Anderson v. Evans (June 7, 2004) | Anderson v. Evans (December 20, 2002)

Relevant Links:
Makah Nation -

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