Federal prosecutors are seeking a lowered sentence for Frank Ambrose, a former environmental activist who operated as a government informant in several investigations related to the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). Ambrose–who admitted involvement several arsons claimed by the ELF in Michigan and beyond–began cooperating with the government in August 2007 following a search of his home in April 2007. In exchange for his cooperation, federal prosecutors are asking for an 8-10 year sentence instead of the 20-year maximum.
In a court filing last Friday, the government described Ambrose’s cooperation:
“Defendant’s cooperation with and assistance to the United States has been nothing short of remarkable, both in terms of the time and effort he put into it and in terms of its value to Federal law enforcement. As a direct result of Defendant’s help, the Government secured convictions against almost all of the persons who were involved in the most significant but, until this prosecution, unsolved, act of domestic terrorism committed in the Western District of Michigan in the past decade – the 1999 New Year’s Eve arson of Agriculture Hall at Michigan State University (MSU), an academic institution of international significance and national importance that has a profound effect on interstate commerce and that receives significant funding from the United States Government. The direct and indirect results of Defendant’s assistance reached well beyond the MSU arson, however, to other unsolved arsons and other significant acts of property destruction and intimidation committed in the Eastern District of Michigan, the Southern District of Indiana, and to investigations in other Federal districts that are still ongoing.”
Not only was Ambrose instrumental in leading to convictions in the MSU arson, but he also willing agreed to investigate additional crimes:
“Ambrose thereafter agreed to actively assist not only in the investigation into the MSU arson, but also in investigations of other unsolved ELF actions and in proactive efforts to discover and disrupt ELF actions in the making…
…All told, Defendant traveled outside of Michigan seven times at the FBI’s direction, often working extremely late hours; he made repeated trips from Detroit to Grand Rapids; he made 178 consensual recordings of telephone conversations and in-person meetings with investigative targets; and he participated in lengthy interviews with the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit and otherwise assisted the FBI’s efforts to improve its intelligence-gathering protocols related to, and its understanding of, underground environmental and animal-rights extremist groups and movements.”
Ambrose will be sentenced on October 20.