Andrew Clark Darst, a key informant in the conspiracy case pending against the RNC Eight, has been found guilty of three criminal counts stemming from a January altercation in Minnetrista.
Hennepin District Court Judge Daniel Mabley ruled today that Darst is guilty of a gross misdemeanor charge of damage to property, as well as two counts of misdemeanor assault. The 30-year-old Minnetrista resident was acquitted on two burglary counts.
Darst, better known in activist circles as “Panda,” was a key informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in building a case that eight area anarchists (pictured) were engaged in a credible criminal conspiracy to disrupt September’s Republican National Convention in St. Paul. His subsequent arrest, however, has raised questions about his credibility as a potential witness in the cases.
According to the findings released by Judge Mabley today, police were summoned to a Minnetrista residence on January 11 shortly after 2 a.m. Upon arrival officers found that the rear door to the home had been ripped off its hinges. They also observed damage to a window, a hole in a wall, damage to a dog dish and a cracked wooden chair.
The five people present at the residence informed the cops that Darst was responsible for the damage. He’d arrived at the house earlier that night after learning that his wife was there and that she was extremely intoxicated.
“The Defendant came into the residence swinging, punching and calling for his wife,” according to Judge Mabley’s findings. One of the witnesses reported that Darst was swinging “like he wanted to kill us.”
Darst claimed in an affidavit that he was immediately attacked upon entering the residence and that he was acting in self defense. But his statements to police shortly after the incident contradict this claim. When asked at the time whether anyone had assaulted him, this was allegedly Darst’s response: “No, they were pushing me back. … Which is understandable considering that, you know, it is their home.”
Darst waived his right to a jury trial last week. Instead he agreed to abide by Mabley’s determination of guilt or innocence based on written records related to the case. Darst will be sentenced on May 18. The prosecution is seeking a prison term of 180 days.