A Dakota Access Pipeline protester has refused to speak to a federal grand jury in North Dakota investigating an explosion that severely wounded another activist in November.
Protester Steve Martinez, 42, on Wednesday lost an attempt to quash a subpoena ordering him to testify and produce other evidence from the night Sophia Wilansky nearly lost her arm.
Pipeline opponents have alleged that a police officer threw a device at Wilansky that blew up during a violent showdown while law enforcement has suggested she was hurt by protesters recklessly handling a homemade bomb.
Martinez’s was supposed to testify Wednesday, but was rescheduled for Feb. 1. He reportedly declared he won’t answer questions at that time.
Rather than answer questions about the activities of other protesters, Martinez said that he would run the risk of being jailed for contempt of court.
“Losing my freedom is a small price to pay for keeping my dignity and standing up for what’s right,” he said, according to The Associated Press.
His attorney, Ralph Hurvitz, did not respond to The Huffington Post’s inquiries, but he showed court documents to the AP that said Martinez had been ordered to provide photos and SD memory cards, written statements and other material.
The subpoena violates Martinez’s First Amendment rights and could discourage others from participating in protests, Hurvitz wrote in a motion cited by The Bismarck Tribune.
The 1,172-mile Dakota Access Pipeline connects oil fields in North Dakota with existing facilities in Illinois. Its completion is in question, though, as the Obama administration has said it will not issue a permit to build the last section beneath Lake Oahe in North Dakota.
The Standing Rock Sioux and their allies have opposed the project there, because they fear it could contaminate their drinking water. Officials from the developer, Energy Transfer Partners, have said they expect Donald Trump to green-light the disputed section.
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