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Trial begins for border activist who helped migrants

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Posted at 4:41 PM, May 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-05 18:38:21-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - The federal trial against a border activist charged with harboring migrants in a case advocates say is politically-motivated began Wednesday with jury selection.

Scott Daniel Warren was arrested in 2018 when Border Patrol agents found him at a property used to provide aid to immigrants in Ajo, Arizona.

Warren, 36, is charged with harboring migrants and conspiring to transport and harbor two Mexican men found with him who were in the U.S. illegally.

Prosecutors have argued that migrants Kristian Perez-Villanueva and Jose Arnaldo Sacaria-Goday were never in any real distress.

The case is one of several against members of humanitarian aid groups who say their work on the border helping migrants in distress is increasingly under scrutiny.

They blame the administration of President Donald Trump for the crackdown, which includes the separate arrests of several other members of the group Warren volunteers with.

Warren's parents have gathered more than 126,000 online petition signatures asking the court to drop the case. They delivered the petitions Friday to the courthouse.

In a motion to dismiss the charges, Warren's defense team has argued their client "could not, consistent with his conscience and spiritual beliefs, turn away two migrants in the desert."