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Government Lays Out Case Against Shawn Christy

SCRANTON, Pa. — The federal trial of Shawn Christy continued Tuesday in Scranton. The man from McAdoo is accused of making threats to the president and se...

SCRANTON, Pa. -- The federal trial of Shawn Christy continued Tuesday in Scranton.

The man from McAdoo is accused of making threats to the president and several other federal crimes he allegedly committed while on the run from authorities.

We heard opening statements from both Christy and Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis Sempa. We also heard from several prosecution witnesses including Secret Service and FBI agents, as well as Christy's uncle Gerry, whose home he allegedly broke into while on the run, and from an employee of Hazleton Oil, where Christy is accused of stealing a truck and driving it across state lines.

The United States Government laid out its case against Christy in federal court, detailing the timeline of events to the jury and describing how Christy left behind a trail of evidence while he was on the run from authorities for three months.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis Sempa said in his opening statement that Christy's "lack of respect for the law was shown time and time again."

Christy said in his opening statement that he wants to wait to wait and see what evidence the government presents, and then he "may or may not" call witnesses to his defense. He also stated that "a lot of what the government has is hearsay."

In June of last year, Christy is accused of making a threat to kill President Trump and Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli.

The government must prove that Christy is the one who posted the threat on Facebook and that he both understood and meant the words as a true threat.

Christy, acting as his own lawyer, argues that the president did not see the threat, and was never intended to see the threat. A Secret Service agent who testified in court said that neither of those things needs to be true for a threat to be considered legitimate.

President Trump's visit to Mohegan Sun Arena in August of 2018 was mentioned several times throughout the trial. Christy asked the agents called to the stand if there was any evidence that he tried to get to the president or his rally that day.

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Christy's mother, Karen, explained why she thinks that's relevant to his case.

"Trump was here on August 2, I believe it was. Shawn was in West Virginia or somewhere, so he totally clearly had no intention of harming the president, because if he did, he would have been in Wilkes-Barre, not in another state," Karen Christy said.

Evidence presented by the government also included several notes officials say Christy left behind at places he broke into. That includes his uncle's home in Drums. Gerry DeBalko was called to the stand. He testified that Christy stole three guns from his home in July of 2018. Those guns were shown to the jury, along with the two notes signed by Christy.

An employee from Hazleton Oil, where Christy used to work, was also called to the stand. She told jurors that Christy broke into the place on a Saturday night in July of last year and stole a pickup truck. The jury saw surveillance video of a man getting into the truck and driving it away. Christy called the employee's statements hearsay.

One of the notes Christy left addressed to his uncle apologized for breaking in, saying, 'There are some bad people after me. I'd rather go out with some firepower in my hand.' The second note was addressed to his parents, telling them he loved them, and he hoped to see them again someday.

In speaking to Newswatch 16, Christy's mother, Karen, painted a portrait of a frustrated and frightened man, who feels the government has wronged him several times. She said that the police raid on Christy's home in June of 2018 scared Christy, and that's why he continued to evade authorities.

"If it wasn't for that when Shawn came home that Saturday night, he was coming home to surrender himself. But because he found out what had happened to our home, and that his cat was dead, because of their actions, that's what led up to this manhunt for him."

Christy also said in court that he feared for his life and safety after the police raid and during the subsequent manhunt.