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Judge gives Stillwater man two years for conspiring against federal judge

A Stillwater man will serve two years in prison for his role in a conspiracy to prevent a federal judge from doing her job.

John Howard Pelton, 67, was one of three Twin Cities men convicted in October of one count of conspiracy to impede an officer and one count of obstruction of justice in U.S. District Court.

In addition to his prison term, Pelton was sentenced Monday to 24 three years of supervised release. Another of the convicted, Frederick Ogan Bond, 63, of Champlin received the same sentence.

The man identified as the ringleader of the group, Robert Bonine Beale, 65, of North Oaks, was sentenced to four years in prison and three years of supervised release.

Another man initially charged in an indictment filed last summer, Norman William Pool, 43, of Blaine, pleaded guilty last September to a conspiracy charge. He was sentenced Monday to three years probation.

According to the indictment, the men plotted last spring to intimidate Judge Ann Montgomery so that she would not hold a trial involving Beale, a millionaire businessman who opposes the U.S. tax system. Beale was convicted later of one count of felony conspiracy to defraud the United States, five counts of tax evasion and one count for failing to appear in court. He was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison.

The group was alleged to have held meetings in which they set up a "common law court" to try the judge, who they intended for law enforcement agencies to arrest using purported warrants signed by Pelton and Pool.

Further, they planned to gather supporters to stage a protest during Beale's court proceedings in which they would detain Montgomery under a "citizens' arrest."

Because the case concerned a Minnesota judge, U.S. District Court Judge Rodney S. Webb, from the District of North Dakota, presided over the five-day trial and determined the sentences.

Beale, a founder and former CEO of Comtrol Corporation, a computer device-maker, was initially indicted on tax evasion charges in January 2006, for failing to pay personal income tax on $5.6 million, and that he owed more than $1.6 million in back taxes and penalties. After failing to report for an August 2006 trial, he was arrested in Florida more than a year later.

According to media reports, Beale mixed religion and interpretations of the U.S. Constitution to justify his anti-tax stance.

The convictions resulted from an investigation by the FBI, U.S. Marshals, Sherburne County Jail, Sherburne County Sheriff's Office and the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office.