MAT-SU — A Pennsylvania man accused of harassing Sarah Palin’s lawyers and stalking the former governor and her friends has been released from jail and sent home pending a sentencing hearing later this month.
According to court documents, Shawn Christy of McAdoo, Penn., was ordered into home confinement May 16. Federal officials intend to get him a plane ticket to appear at a hearing in Anchorage June 8.
Christy’s father, Craig Christy, also was charged with harassing the lawyers. No such orders were present in the elder Christy’s file as of Saturday morning, but federal prison databases show he was released May 25, though it’s unclear in court records if that date is accurate.
In any event, both father and son pleaded for a speedy sentencing date, in part, by pointing out just how long they have been in custody.
“By the time Mr. Christy is sentenced he will either be immediately eligible for release to a halfway house or will be eligible for such a release in, at most, a few weeks,” Craig Christy’s attorney, James Wendt wrote.
“Mr. Christy, who has no prior criminal history, faces only a maximum sentence of two years but has been detained since his arrest in August 2011. By the time of a mid-May sentencing he will have been in custody for nine months,” Shawn Christy’s attorney, Mary C. Geddes wrote, when it still seemed like a mid-May sentencing date was feasible.
In March, both were set to see the end of their cases with a sentence on charges of making harassing phone calls. Judge Timothy Burgess ordered the two men sent to out-of-state federal prisons for psychiatric evaluations.
Shawn Christy’s lawyers, in their pleadings, seem to indicate that the findings of those evaluations were favorable for at least the younger Christy. The elder Christy’s lawyers appear to have only recently received the results of that evaluation and haven’t yet made mention of what the report found.
The charges stem from a series of phone calls placed to Fairbanks attorney John Tiemessen, who received a restraining order against the Christys on behalf of the former governor and her family.
The Christys started calling Tiemessen’s offices, at one point placing 25 phone calls in an hour, sometimes leaving threatening voicemails.
The initial restraining order was the result of various communications Shawn Christy had with the Palins and others, one of which included receipts relating to the purchase and sale of a gun. Shawn Christy said the gun-related receipts were intended to show he was harmless. It all came to a head when he flew to Alaska for a very brief visit in February 2011.
Since then, the case has meandered through court, with Burgess balking at a plea agreement, the Christys agreeing to go ahead without an agreement and just plead to the charges, and now the court-ordered psychiatric evaluations.
Shawn Christy has, according to court records, apparently also had time to get his GED and attend anger management classes. He also wrote to Tiemessen trying to come up with a resolution to the case.
“I believe that if personal emotions could be put out of this matter, and set aside, that both parties would benefit. I also believe that this could be accomplished without media intervention, and that a speedy dismissal of the current orders could accomplish that. I also believe that my actions have been taken in a negative manner, and I have never meant any harm to Mrs. Palin or her family,” the younger Christie wrote.
He offered not to talk about Palin on any social networking forum or in public, to not talk to the press about the case, and to stay away from Palin or her political groups. In return, he asked that Tiemessen work to lift the protective orders.
“If genuine, this offer shows a much more positive and mature attitude toward this issue than has been reflected in the past. The fact that you made this offer, by itself, is a positive step toward resolving this matter. This is a very different attitude than the one demonstrated in the emotion of last month’s hearing. It is notable to me that your father did not join in your offer,” Tiemessen wrote back, before declining Christy’s offer.
Contact reporter Andrew Wellner at email@example.com or 352-2270.