Good to see that Tony Ortega is getting more exposure at Gawker: Las Vegas police officers have arrested a high-ranking Scientologist in a bizarre plot—allegedly inspired by right-wing "Sovereign Citizen" beliefs—to kidnap and kill a local law enforcement officer. Devon Campbell Newman, 67, became the public relations director of Scientology’s “Celebrity Center” in Las Vegas, Nevada, early in 2010 and has remained in that position to the present day — that’s according to her own LinkedIn profile as well as numerous online records of her activities as a Scientologist. This week, she became known for something else. As a result of a police investigation that began in April, on Tuesday Newman and a six-time felon and registered sex offender named David Allen Brutsche, 42, were arrested for planning what police are calling a bizarre plot to kidnap and kill a random local police officer in a macabre publicity stunt to promote their “sovereign citizen” views. The arrest and its strange details quickly made news yesterday, but Newman’s position with Scientology wasn’t mentioned. Then, last night, we were tipped by Las Vegas television journalist Nathan Baca about Newman’s role in the church. He plans to have a full report later today. But for now, we have some preliminary information about Newman’s Scientology career, and the trouble she currently finds herself in. Newman gave a jailhouse interview to Baca’s 8 News NOW colleague, Caroline Bleakley, before they were aware of her involvement in Scientology. Bleakley’s story gives some background on the cop-killing plot… According to the arrest report, the two belong to a “sovereign citizen movement” and don’t follow U.S. laws. Members of Metro’s Counter-Terrorism Section had been conducting an undercover operation of Brutsche and Newman since April. Both had expressed a deep-seated hatred for law enforcement officers and planned to kidnap a police officer from a traffic stop, according to the report. They planned to place the officer in a makeshift jail and try the officer in a sovereign court of law for treason and civil rights violations. The officer would be convicted and then executed. Newman, however, told Bleakley that she was not involved in a plot to kill a cop, and that although Brutsche had discussed kidnapping a police officer, she didn’t think he was serious. “I am upset, because if this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. I have felt for a while now the police are out of control. That they are stopping people and searching them with no probable cause,” Newman said. She also denied involvement in the sovereign citizens movement. However, she did say she agreed with people that believe in restrictions on the government outlined in the Constitution. “I align myself with people who, as our forefathers did, believe that in inalienable rights and that the Constitution restricts the government from what they can do,” Newman said. According to police, on July 9, David Brutsche (pictured, above) told an undercover police officer, “We need to arrest the police and take them to our jail and put them in a cell and put them on trial in a people’s court. If we run into the position that they resist, then we need to kill them.” By that time, the three (Brutsche, Newman, and the undercover officer), had purchased a vacant house and had begun to outfit it for their jail. Here’s how the Southern Poverty Law Center begins its description of the sovereign citizens movement, which it says is difficult to measure the size of… The strange subculture of the sovereign citizens movement, whose adherents hold truly bizarre, complex antigovernment beliefs, has been growing at a fast pace since the late 2000s. Sovereigns believe that they — not judges, juries, law enforcement or elected officials — get to decide which laws to obey and which to ignore, and they don’t think they should have to pay taxes. (cont.)
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