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Montana Disabled Veteran Convicted Over Stock Pond

Robertson could be sentenced up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

veteran Travesty of Justice
Joe Robertson

Montana Veteran Convicted Over Pond

… Here We Go Again!

By Shari Dovale

You might remember that Andy Johnson, the rancher from Wyoming, just won his case this week against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

That battle concerned their environmentally friendly stock pond on their private property. The EPA demanded that he remove the pond and threatened him with fines of $37,500 per day if he did not comply. The case was settled this week and the Johnson Family are happy.


He is not the only citizen that the EPA has targeted. More cases are coming to light on the extreme overreach of this organization.

Joe Robertson and his service dog, Sasha

Disabled Navy veteran Joseph Robertson, 77, of Basin, Montana, and his wife, Carri, own about 200 acres of beautiful Montana mountain land. They homestead the White Pine Lode patented mining claim that he owns, and live “green” as Robertson is quick to explain. “I’ve worked over 30 years for mining corporations and I know what contamination is.”

They lease a portion of it to the Helena Veteran’s Support group. They offer camping, hiking and more to veterans and their families. “There is a great veteran support group here,” Robertson tells Redoubt News.

They, also, own a large Freight-liner water tender that they loan to the volunteer fire department, and share with their neighbors. Additionally, they have an outfitted fire truck, including foam, hose reels, etc. that they use with the volunteer fire department.

They love their community and are active in helping, and sharing with, their neighbors.

Due to multiple fires in the area over the past several years, Robertson has maintained and improved his property by building stock ponds for his animals and fire prevention for his and the neighbor properties.

But, he has also scrapped with the government, by way of the Forest Service and the EPA, for years. The harassment by the government began over a decade ago, complaining that he was not allowed to repair the road that leads to his private property. This came to a head in 2013 when they charged this disabled veteran for violation of the Clean Water Act.

The government contends that nine stock ponds affect approximately one-tenth (1/10) of an acre of discharged pollutants into the Jefferson River, nearly 60 miles away.

Photo courtesy of Carri Robertson

The first trial was held last year and ended in a hung jury. It would probably have concluded in favor of Mr. Robertson had the federal defender presented all of the evidence. Yet, the defense, Michael Donahoe, refused to call any expert witnesses.

The Director of Veterans Affairs for Senator Steve Daines, Denny Lenoir, was in the courtroom during the trial. Donahoe seemed upset when Robertson would consult with Lenoir. “Why are you making this political?” he complained.

Donahoe’s group had paid for, and received, an environmental impact report detailing how Robertson did NOT violate the law, yet he treated it as if it was not accurate. This report outlines the fact that there is no stream from the Robertson pond to any tributary. Donahoe’s response was that the EPA was the expert testimony, and he would rely on their report.

Donahoe has a good bio with criminal defense. Why would he choose not to use his own expert witness, and report? He chose instead to claim the EPA was the only expert testimony needed in this case.

Report by Kagel Environmental, LLC

There is a second, nearly identical report, completed by Kagel Environmental, LLC, included here. Documented by Ray Kagel, a former federal regulator, he shows that Robertson actually improved the land and could not have contaminated any US waters.

The report outlines that the alleged wetlands “is not waters of the U.S.” and it is virtually impossible for them have a “significant effect on the physical, chemical, and biological integrity of the Jefferson River.”

Kagel spoke with Robertson’s public defender, offering to testify on Robertson’s behalf. Donahoe declined the offer and stated he did not wish to use any expert testimony. Kagel completed the report, pro-bono, for the Robertson’s anyway. Thank you Ray Kagel!

Judge Donald W. Molloy retired in 2011. Molloy was the subject of a complaint letter by Robertson some years ago, so it is surprising that, knowing there is bad blood between them, he came out of retirement specifically to hear this case. However, seeing the way this case was handled, maybe it is not so surprising after all.

A week after the first trial ended in a hung jury, Donahoe asked the Robertsons to travel to his office in Helena. Upon the return to their home, they caught two EPA agents attempting to drain their pond, trying to make a stream flow a mile down the canyon to Cataract Creek. It was a blatant attempt to manufacture evidence to support the government case. The timing does seem suspect, as they do not travel off of their property often. It just so happened that they were called away, by their attorney, during this event.

When this information was brought to the attention of Judge Molloy, the Judge did not see a problem with this manufactured evidence. In fact, this ‘evidence’ was allowed at the second trial. Robertson tells me that even Judge Molloy questioned Donahoe as to why he was not objecting to this evidence being presented. Still, Donahoe did not object.

Robertson’s water tender, photo courtesy of Carri Robertson

The second trial was completed last month. During the trial, Judge Molloy seemed upset that Robertson wanted his service dog with him. Robertson was required by his attorney to get documentation that authorized him to have the dog, Sasha, in the courtroom.

The second trial ended in a conviction for this 77 year old Navy veteran. He now faces prison and hundreds of thousands in fines. This will amount to life in prison and forfeiture of his property.


“This verdict sends a message that the United States will not stand by and allow streams and wetlands of the United States to be polluted, or National Forest lands to be injured,” said United States Attorney for the District of Montana Mike Cotter.


“Today’s guilty verdict demonstrates that polluters will be held accountable for their actions.” said Jeffrey Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement program in Montana.


Mr. Robertson did not harm the environment, he actually improved it. However, the government did not control these actions, and therefore, seems intent on sending that message. Robertson, who served his country honorably, including tours in Vietnam, faces losing everything he built over his lifetime.

Robertson could now be sentenced up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. It would appear that their Federal Public Defender showed that he knows who he really works for, and it was not for Mr. Robertson. His oath to defend Robertson seemed not as strong as the oath to defend the government. In accordance with this stance, there currently is no appeal expected.

Sentencing is scheduled for July 20, 2016.


Updated: John Jacob Schmidt interviews Joseph Robertson!


Kris Ann Hall Talks about Joe’s case:


Edited to fix broken link. 01/24/2019

43 Comments on Montana Disabled Veteran Convicted Over Stock Pond

  1. Umm…the judge committed a crime: Violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    “The second trial was completed last month. During the trial, Judge Molloy seemed upset that Robertson wanted his service dog with him. Robertson was required by his attorney to get documentation that authorized him to have the dog, Sasha, in the courtroom.”

    It is ILLEGAL to demand “proof or documentation” for the use of a service animal. It is even illegal to ask what the disability even IS!

    I think that he needs to file the complaints with the Dept of Justice against the judge. He can also file civil actions against him as well.

  2. And the two EPA saboteurs who were caught trying to wreck one of Robertson’s ponds? Nothing? Heads should roll — multiple heads, all the way to a very high office of the EPA.

  3. This is Montana politics at its best. The federal prosecutor Mije Cotter, look him up from Great Falls, Montana , former private practice attorney. Now look up his wife, Patricia Cotter, the Patricia Cotter of the Montana Supreme Court!!
    Judge Maloy is a fat windbag. He is his biggest fan. He’s a cholesterol ridden t***.

  4. This is not right. So, what can we do to help this vet appeal the ruling? I’ll donate to a defense fund.

  5. The government has various tricks for taking our property. They, on the county level are creating erroneous ordinances to control land use, like in Thurston County Washington, no one could build on their own property, because of an endangered gopher, endangered my ass, but they were able to impose 10’s of thousand of dollars in individual, private land owners so they could build, add on, plow a field. It wasn’t about the animal, it was about the money, and the county commissioner’s are leaving office, very, very rich, along with state bioligists, who are also very, very rich, on the backs of struggling property owners who could barley make ends meet as it was. I could go on and on, then Oregon, they put farmers and ranchers out of business because of a sucker fish, they were forced to sell their land at a loss, now the land has been re sold, and made into expensive million dollar estates, and that stupid fish was declared extinct. Good timing. Now they are starting to harass food growers in California, seems they are the cause of an endangered smelt fish. This is all government caused. They obviously want that guys land and ponds, and are fining him to the point he will walk away from his property so they can grab it. They are doing this in Wyoming, Northern Montana, Washington State, Oregon, and Northern California.

  6. A patented mining claim is not ownership of the land. Iy is literally a legal permit to “squat”. There are laws and regulations related to that legal squatting. The OWNERS of the land that he was squatting on choose to enforce those rules.

  7. Simply put, there is NO FIX for “stupid” — anyone who could not even notice that their own attorney (gov’t shill) was repeatedly sabotaging his “own” case in favor of the prosecution almost DESERVES to be convicted. “A fool and his money are soon parted” is just one truism that suggests what’s really at fault here — the vet himself needs at least a few functioning gray cells if he hopes to take on the “system” and come out a winner. Countless other examples of so-called “defense” attorneys destroying their own client’s case can be found on the Internet, and corrupt judges are sadly another fact of life in this “end times” era. In observing the behavior of his own attorney even a total dummy should have at least faintly understood the operative dynamic of continued “poor decisions” from his attorney via this rule: “the first time, happenstance . . the second time, coincidence . . but the THIRD time — enemy action!” Duh. Duh. Duh. Wake up, fool!

    • Rich, that is why the story is out there now, sometimes the best way to fight back is in the court of public opinion.

  8. Thank You Kris Ann Hall! Very good report!
    Michael Donahoe 406-449-8381 or 800-449-8381
    Judge (Federal) Maloy 406-542-7286
    Both of these people should be arrested asap. The people caught on Joe’s property trying to manufacture evidence should have been arrested.
    If we don’t back this veteran, we should all just take down all our “tough guy” props right now, and admit we’re too cowardly to deserve this country. Can’t believe I’m seeing this and there are not entire armies there to defend him right now…
    Understand… these greenies are evil globalists, not Americans, and they do not belong in our country at all. Run them outta here!!

    Sheriff Craig Doolittle of Jefferson County 406-225-4075
    Despots we are allowing to destroy our bravest…really? WOW.

  9. HOW CAN PEOPLE HELP? Is there a ‘Go Fund Me” page? A fund somewhere? This man needs money and support. If anyone knows, please post.

  10. Judge Molloy’s Chambers Main – Phone: (406) 542-7286

    Michael Donahoe – Phone: (406) 449-8381
    In Montana: (800) 449-8381

    Sherrif Craig Doolittle – Phone: (406) 225-4075

    Make their phone’s burn.

  11. FYI There are two judges in Missoula MT, a JP and a district judge who bring their dogs to work, even into the court room. None are service dogs. The district judge even takes a recess during a case to walk his dogs! Guess judges are above the law! JP Marie Anderson, District Judge John Larson. BTW They apparently treat dogs better than the humans who come B4 them.

  12. Liberal sally says “oh, this story is so heartbreaking! So so heart breaking! What’s going to happen to that poor helpless dog?

    So, I thought montana was a rugged independent man zone? What happened? Is it now a eunuch zone? Must be!

  13. I am a combat vet from khe sanh DMZ vietnam 67 disabled vet . Lets free this vet and honor him. simper fi. rockpil , camp carol , gio linh , dong ha. Is some one watching Sasha ? i would love to. Good luck Joseph, God be with you.

  14. Something does not sound right with this reporting. How could he have enough money for all the equipment and the mine, yet not able to afford legal representation?

    If he knew his attorney was not properly representing him and he had outside help, why did he not fire the public defender?

  15. When all these traitors stand before Jesus Christ and be righteously judged and not one will like it, but rest of life in HELL. Gonna be a great day, and for all the hurt and pain caused by these traitors will be suffered by them many times over. Judgment is mine, thus saith the Lord, I will repay. Godly men and women suffering at these traitors hand will be comforted by the Lord. There are many others being jailed and property stolen in the USA western states. Great punishment for them all, lots worse than illegial aliens criminals, and enemy agents. Shame, Shame on all traitors as they will be greatest losers.

  16. Robertson’s lawyer is a scumbag traitor… and should be dealt with at that level. The judge… will be judged as he judged. The jury, if any, being stupid Americans, have no clue they are slaves to the establishment and obviously can’t think for themselves. Wow… what a Republic we’ve become…

    • No, he is NOT a traitor. He works for the government. He KNEW that if he got this guy off he would likely not get much work from them.

    • The ACLJ should get involved to have this case thrown out and a Mis-trial.. and the EPA people, they need to serve the t erm that was distributed to Mr. Robertson

      • Yeah, and this comes right on the heels of the EPA absoving itself in the Colorado spill disaster that happened last year, when someone from the EPA managed to spill thousands of gallons of heavily polluted mining leach pond water into a river, causing irreparable harm to the environment… the EPA is a joke & needs to be destroyed. ::::This is another example of eco-fascism!!

  17. The people created govt to protect our unalienable rights, not to regulate or rule them out of existence. All through the Federal alphabet agency thugs who answer to whoever is in the WH. Govt serves US not the other way around.

  18. A lawful court would be compelled to recognize that federal jurisdiction is limited by the Tenth Amendment to constitutionally enumerated powers. The operation of the EPA is not an enumerated power. But sham judicial proceedings disregard lawful foundations to administer tainted political rulings such as this one.

    • I had no problem putting a pond on my property. I keep a good relationship with the county government and seems to be able to work any problems with constructing my farm and running it. Not even to the point of putting my own airstrip on it and keeping my plane in the barn. You get a better response if you flavor your relationships with sugar than salt. Good luck I hope you problem straigten out. Government is like a gun. Either a force for good or evil. Depends on who’s hand it is in.

    • Evereything is a “land grab” in you peoples’ eyes. The man was represented by the same attorney twice. If he didn’t feel he was being represented, he should have asked for a different attorney for the second trial. You can’t say that the judge was against him, yet questioned the adequacy of defense.

      • HE DID NOT HAVE A CHOICE, *******. It was obvious that the judge was against him too. He had the authority to question the discretion of the “lawyer” and chose not to. It was a total set up.

        YOU are the problem with our country.

      • so you do not have a problem with the government manufacturing evidence? i will remember that if you are ever stopped and they plant something in your car

      • When represented by a court-appointed lawyer, you are very limited on the choices you have. You don’t have the right to fire your attorney unless you wish to represent yourself at trial. This man has been an excellent steward to his land, and the surrounding environment. He caught agents from the EPA altering HIS PRIVATELY OWNED PROPERTY and manufacturing evidence.
        His public defender should be disbarred, the judge should be disbarred,censured, and Mr.Robertson should be exhonerated, and sue the EPA into oblivion.

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