Kjonaas

Sarah McKenzie

Authorities subpoenaed Kevin Kjonaas, an Animal Liberation Front spokesman, on Friday to appear before a federal grand jury June 14.
Kjonaas, a political science senior, said a University Police investigator and an FBI agent approached him as he was leaving a geology class Friday afternoon. They handed him the subpoena, which orders him to appear at a hearing at the U.S. District Courthouse in Minneapolis.
Additionally, Kjonaas said nine FBI agents searched his Uptown apartment Wednesday and confiscated his computer and several other personal belongings, including a hooded sweat jacket, several video tapes, personal papers and computer disks.
Coleen Rowley, an FBI spokeswoman, said she could not discuss the focus of the grand jury hearing because of a federal law that stipulates all such proceedings remain in “complete secrecy.”
Local and federal authorities have been following several leads since vandals ransacked a dozen research labs in the Lions Research Building and Elliott Hall on April 5. To date, police have made no arrests.
Vandals, who later identified themselves through an e-mail message as members of ALF, destroyed lab equipment and released more than 100 lab mice, rats, pigeons and salamanders.
University officials have estimated that the damage totals more than $1 million. The vandalism has set back research on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, officials say.
University Police Sgt. Jo Anne Benson, coordinator of the investigation, said she could not comment on the ongoing investigation or the June grand jury hearing.
Rowley said a search warrant authorizing authorities to look through Kjonaas’ apartment and confiscate his belongings had not been filed in the U.S. District Court Clerk’s Office as of Monday.
Officials declined to confirm whether Kjonaas is a suspect in the investigation.
Kjonaas, who has three lawyers advising him in the matter, said he has alerted other volunteers at the press office to other possible FBI probes.
Emily Ulmer, a College of Liberal Arts sophomore, shares the Uptown apartment with Kjonaas. She was alone at the residence when the agents rummaged through their belongings. Ulmer said she is not affiliated with any animal rights organization.
“They showed me a search warrant,” Ulmer said. “Then they went through everything in the apartment.”
The investigators began searching for pieces of evidence at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday and stayed for two hours, she said.
At one point, Ulmer said one of the agents read portions of her journal out loud. She said the computer disks taken by the investigators contained some of her Spanish homework assignments. Kjonaas also had a number of assignments and academic papers saved on the disks and on the computer hard drive that were taken by the authorities.
Kjonaas, who volunteers for the ALF press office in Minneapolis, has denied any involvement in the raid and said he has a train ticket to prove that he was out of town during the incident. He also maintains that he is not a member of ALF.
After the April raid at the University labs, Kjonaas spoke publicly on behalf of the vandals who destroyed equipment in the labs. During a press conference a few days after the raid, Kjonaas played a video that showed five ninja-like vandals bashing equipment with crow bars, tagging the walls with ALF graffiti and placing animals into white plastic bins.
“I am the only one with a name connected to this incident,” said Kjonaas, who is due to graduate in a few weeks. “The University is putting great pressure on the investigators.”
Kjonaas said he received threatening e-mail messages and phone calls as a result of the publicity and his unpopular stance on the incident.