Last Thursday, there was testimony that Mark Davis had told Ron Frazier that a part of Frazier's brain "was not energized."
Simon asked his witness what that meant.
"I took that to mean that I did not know how to telepathically obey his orders," replied Frazier.
Telepathically obey his orders?
Time out. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I want a show of hands. Are we in a United States federal courtroom or the set of Star Trek?
Telepathically obey his orders?
Hey Ron, it's me, your weekly columnist. I'm beaming you my mind-control waves. Send me another letter. The people want to know what you are thinking. Your eyelids are growing heavy. You are feeling sleepy. You have an overwhelming urge to write to me again and this time you will explain how it is that the government of this nation spent millions of taxpayer dollars to end up with you, a tightly-wrapped holiday fruitcake from Knott's Berry Farms, as its star witness. I'll protect your confidentiality. Trust me, Ron. Why does Roslyn Moore-Silver wear those Day-Glo wrist watches with the interchangeable color bands to match her vivid outfits? Ron, when I snap my mind-control waves you'll begin to come out of your trance. You'll feel refreshed, Ron. And you're going to notice something. Roslyn Moore-Silver is dreaming about going to a disco, with you, her special witness. Trust me, Ron. I've seen her staring at you. She can't get over the way you say the things you do. Trust me, Ron. She wants to dance. "Stayin' alive, stayin' alive, ah-ha-ha-ha stayin' aliiiive!"
Do not blame journalists for lapses in their concentration or wandering flights of fantasy; much of what Ron Frazier said, or the way that he said it, sounded like a message out of a Dungeons and Dragons fortune cookie.
This surrealism was eased with the introduction into the courtroom of taped conversations between Frazier and various defendants, primarily Mark Davis.
The witness's credibility took a back seat to the documentary nature of the recorded dialogue.
In the very first tape played, from a Davis-Frazier conversation on February 5, 1988, the problem in this case surfaced.
Mark Davis immediately volunteered that he was involved in the first attack on the Snow Bowl and that he'd like to hit the ski resort again.
With his confession to Frazier, Davis confirmed his role in the malicious mischief, though, at that point, that is about all that he was guilty of. The question of how that act of vandalism became a federal case, literally and figuratively, was also suggested in this first tape.
Davis told Frazier, "The next project is going to involve thermite."
Davis also made it plain that he was virtually ignorant about what thermite is or how to get it. After saying that thermite was aluminum powder and iron oxide, he added, "And I don't, that's all I know. But I don't know how to put it together. But the thing, the next thing that's going to be done is going to involve, um, setting thermite packages around the legs of something."
Frazier quickly volunteered to see where thermite was sold, comb through various catalogues and check prices through 800 numbers.
Davis leapt at the bait at the same time that he reiterated his unfamiliarity with thermite. For Davis, the metal melting explosive was a pipe dream.
"If you can do that [locate and price thermite], that would be very useful. 'Cause I am not, don't have the technical expertise to even fake the questions correctly."
For well over a year, Davis and Frazier discussed the thermite. Always Davis was curious but ignorant. Always Frazier acted as technical expert furthering the fantasies of thermite but never quite delivering the product. After hundreds of hours devoted to the discussion of thermite, Davis and Frazier resembled a wildly spinning couple upon the dance floor--often, you can no longer tell who was leading whom.
Was Mark Davis a terrorist, as the government charges, or was he coaxed down the path that led to this federal courthouse?
In her opening statement, prosecutor Roslyn Moore-Silver anticipated defense arguments and denied that there was ever an overall plan to get Earth First! at all costs. She made a point of informing the jury that FBI agent Michael Fain was only sent in to infiltrate the environmentalists when it appeared, months into the investigation, that Ron Frazier was no longer trusted.
Five weeks into the trial, however, the prosecution's position on this fundamental question of entrapment was eroded by witness Frazier.
In response to an innocuous question by Assistant U.S. Attorney Simon regarding the tapes, Frazier went off on a tangent and said that he was instructed at his very first meeting with the government to look for an opening where he might be able to introduce an undercover FBI agent into Earth First!.