East Hawaii News

Christies Plead Guilty in Federal Court; January Sentencing Set

September 27, 2013, 12:41 PM HST
* Updated October 2, 10:33 AM
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Big Island marijuana minister Roger Christie pleaded guilty this morning in Honolulu federal court to one count of trafficking in marijuana and two counts of failing to file federal income tax returns for the years 2008 and 2009, Honolulu media is reporting.

Christie was facing five counts of distributing marijuana, two counts of conspiracy to distribute marijuana, a single count of manufacturing marijuana and the income tax offenses.

His Honolulu lawyer, Thomas Otake, told reporters that he expected Christie, 64, to receive a five-year prison when he is sentenced on Jan. 22. Because of time already served — Christie has been held in the federal lockup since July 2010 – Otake has said he expects that Christie will serve only about six more months.

KITV reporter Andrew Pereira, who was given permission from Judge Richard Puglisi to blog from the courtroom, has tweeted that Christie will not be allowed out on bail pending sentencing.

Pereira tweeted that Sherryanne “Share” Christie, Roger’s 62-year-old wife, pleaded guilty to possession and trafficking of marijuana. Her sentencing has been set for Jan. 27 and she will be allowed to remain out on bail until that time.

Otake has said that both retain the right to appeal a judge’s ruling earlier this month prohibiting the Christies from using a religious freedom as a defense for the operation of their cannabis ministry in Hilo.

However, because that ruling was made prior to their trial, which had been scheduled for Oct. 8, it is not clear what effect a successful appeal would have on their case or their guilty pleas.

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