By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
"Arthur wouldn't engage truthfully," McLaren says. He adds that "Arthur was fairly fanatical" about the separation of the races.
The Republic of Texas members' suspicions heightened when Griesacker failed to deliver the documents he told them he carried. He never produced the U.S. Supreme Court seal, McLaren says. "We started putting requirements that he had to get the credentials. We were basically saying, 'Shit or get off the brick.'"
When ROT president Archie Lowe suggested demoting Griesacker to legal expert--instead of U.S. ambassador--Griesacker started withholding information from the group, McLaren says.
In January 1997, the rift had widened so far that McLaren believed he needed to cut off Griesacker. He shut off his phone, and shortly afterward, Griesacker left the compound, McLaren says.
After leaving Texas, Griesacker hung out for a while in Towanda, Kansas, with Brad Glover, head of the loosely organized Kansas militia, according to investigator Mauck. "Those guys were as thick as thieves, meeting every day," he says.
Shortly after Griesacker left Towanda, Mauck says, Glover was arrested on charges related to arms possession.
When McLaren began testifying in his bank-fraud trial on March 25, he launched into a long discourse on Texas history. By 2 p.m., he'd only reached 1845, the year the original Republic of Texas approved a treaty with the United States. But the jury panel seemed surprisingly engaged in the lesson.
At the prosecutor's table, however, boredom prevailed. Thomas Hamilton, an assistant U.S. attorney, appeared to be snoozing with his eyes shut. J.D. Butler, a postal inspector who helped prepare the prosecution's case, was doodling on paper. Steve Scheets, an IRS agent, peered at Butler's scribbles and smiled.
On the stand earlier that day, the IRS agent had poked fun at the separatists. He told McLaren's wife, Evelyn, when she attempted to document the legitimacy of the ROT government, "I could call myself the grand poobah of the Wizard of Oz, but it doesn't make it a fact."
When Butler testified, Mills, laying the groundwork for his snitch-theory defense, inquired about Griesacker. "Mr. Griesacker was always looked upon as a possible target of this investigation. The evidence at this time wasn't there," Butler told Mills. "All we had was the videotape that he wasn't on very much. He was under investigation for a variety of charges, and at this time we felt like unless we had sufficient evidence, that he would not be included in the indictment."
But for McLaren, his last talk with Griesacker, shortly before he left the Republic of Texas compound, was enough to cement his suspicions about why the government wouldn't prosecute the mystery man. When he told Griesacker it was time to split, McLaren recalls, the itinerant legal expert answered sourly: "That's all right. I've already taken care of it."
McLaren suspects Griesacker was already ratting to the feds about the Republic of Texas. "Whatever it was," McLaren says, "I could tell by the way he said it, he'd done it before.