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Farmer in D.C. Protest Is Convicted on Two Counts

September 27, 2003|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — A North Carolina tobacco farmer who drove his tractor into a pond on the National Mall in March, leading to a two-day standoff with police, has been convicted on two charges.

A federal court jury on Friday found Dwight Watson, 50, of Whitakers, N.C., guilty of threatening and conveying false information concerning the use of an explosive, and destruction of government property.

Watson drove his tractor into a shallow pond on the National Mall, a grassy, park-like promenade in the heart of the capital, to protest government polices that he said had forced tobacco farmers out of business.

The incident snarled commuter traffic across the city.

Each offense carries a possible sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson set sentencing for Dec. 16.

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