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Man arrested while trying to arrest grand jury foreman

Published: 9:04 AM, 04/05/2010 Last updated: 9:10 AM, 04/05/2010

Author: Michael Thomason

A Sweetwater man determined to bring a charge of treason against President Barack Obama was arrested himself Thursday after he barged into the April session of the Monroe County grand jury.
Walt Fitzpatrick, 52, has made several appeals to a grand jury panel to let him speak to the Monroe County grand jury on the belief the president isn't an American citizen and has no right to serve as the nation's leader. So far, that panel has declined to let Fitzpatrick appear before the grand jury.

Believing these denials were an attempt to keep him from the grand jury by jury foreman Gary Pettway, Fitzpatrick showed up at the Monroe County Courthouse Thursday morning to make a citizens arrest of Pettway and various others.

"I was just one of several people he wanted to arrest," Pettway said. "He also wanted to arrest the sheriff (Bill Bivens), Madisonville Police Chief Gregg Breeden, Assistant District Attorney Jim Stutts, not to mention the president and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

"It was all over the same old thing," Pettway added. "He wants the president impeached for treason, fraud and forgery. He's been turned down three times, but keeps coming back."
Madisonville Police Detective Darron Bivens said the grand jury was listening to testimony from Sheriff's Deputy Pat Wilson when Fitzpatrick (who is listed on the arrest report as also going by the name Fitzgerald) burst into the courtroom, demanding the arrest of Pettway.

Grand jury proceedings, by law, are strictly private and only the grand jury and the officer making his or her case are allowed in the room. Even a court officer is not allowed into the courtroom during a grand jury session.
Bivens said he and other officers escorted Fitzpatrick out of the courtroom and were met with at least seven people holding video cameras.
Monroe County Sheriff's Detective Mike Morgan said Fitzpatrick left the courthouse without any trouble, but when he got outside he suddenly fell to his knees and at one point began to fight with the officers.

"We finally had to carry him to a squad car," Morgan said.
Chief Breeden said if Fitzpatrick had simply allowed himself to be escorted to his car, he probably would have been allowed to leave.
"He still would have been charged with disrupting the grand jury hearing," Breeden said, "but it would have been a case we would have presented to the grand jury. But now he has these other charges to face and will go to Sessions Court."

Breeden said there could be others charged in the case if the investigation shows they helped Fitzpatrick stage his intrusion on the grand jury.
Fitzpatrick is charged with disorderly conduct, inciting to riot, disrupting a meeting and resisting arrest. As of Friday, Fitzpatrick was still in the Monroe County Jail, refusing to give jailers anything other than his name, rank and serial number. He is expected to be there until at least Monday when the courthouse opens and his case can move forward if he cooperates. | 442-4575

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