Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Day Two Of The Shaun Walker Trial - "Victim" Jimmy Ballesteros Testifies

On the second day of the trial of former National Alliance Chairman Shaun Walker along with cohorts Travis Massey and Eric Egbert, one of the alleged "victims" of an assault at a downtown bar claimed that he was the "victim of a hate crime." He was testifying in the trial of three white supremacists accused of conspiring to strike fear into non-whites. Based upon original report from KSL Channel 5 in Salt Lake City. KSL is the only Salt Lake media outlet to report on Day Two so far; I will update this post further if more information is gleaned from the first editions of the Salt Lake print media hours from now.

In his testimony, Jimmy Ballesteros (pictured at left courtesy of KSL), a bartender at O'Shucks, described a group of white men coming into the bar and handing out National Alliance stickers (sample shown below left) saying "Stop Immigration: Non-whites are turning America into a Third-World slum...let's send them home now."

When Ballestros was asked where he was from, he replied that he was born here and is partly of Mexican descent. The men began hurling racial epithets. Ballestros asked the group of four or five to leave. He was grabbed and badly beaten while one member of the group held the front door shut so other people inside the bar couldn't come help him.

Ballestros said, "I was held from behind, so it was very difficult to defend myself, but I kept very low. I kept my fists around my head and they were beating me all around...Constant, constant racial slurring going on."

Ballestros went on to say, "It's upsetting. Depressing, number one. I mean I grew up in white suburbia, you know. I lived in Orange County, I lived here in Salt Lake City. I listen to rock n' roll. You know, I have no problems with anybody. And uh, it didn't even occur to me that I'd ever be a victim of a hate crime, but here it is, here we are."

It was not reported whether Ballesteros was asked if he had reported the assault to police or filed charges against his attackers. It would seem strange for a man to get beaten up, not report it to the police immediately, but suddenly make a Federal case out of it over four years later.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Carlos Esqueda, who is leading the prosecution, also claims the group attacked a American Indian man in a similar assault at the Port O'Call bar three months later.

Attorneys for the defendants say their clients are innocent. They said that it was just a bar brawl and that the main instigator was another man who is expected to testify for the prosecution. That individual, informer Keith Cotter, is expected to testify tomorrow (Thursday).

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