SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- A Santa Clara man pleaded not guilty Thursday to possessing assault weapons, explosives and bomb-making materials and to threatening a public official in a dispute over gun control.
Everett Basham was denied bail at a hearing in Santa Clara County Superior Court, though his attorney told The Associated Press he plans to appeal the decision.
The 45-year-old was arrested last week after the California Highway Patrol tracked a death threat emailed to state Sen. Leland Yee. The email objected to the San Francisco Democrat's proposal to limit the rapid reloading of assault weapons.
Basham's attorney, Dan Barton, said his client pleaded not guilty to a dozen charges. They include illegally possessing assault weapons, a handgun, destructive devices, bomb-making materials and a fake driver's license. He also is charged with making criminal threats.
Barton objected that the evidence against his client was sealed, restricting his ability to challenge prosecutors' request that Basham be held without bail. He presented his own evidence that his client is not a threat to public safety and should be released on $502,000 bail with electronic monitoring.
“Right now we don't know anything about the case,” Barton said by telephone after the hearing. “We haven't been given a copy of the threat or told what was in the threat. We really have been given absolutely zero information by the government.”
In denying bail, Judge Kenneth Shapero said public safety is a top concern. Barton said he plans to appeal the bail decision and the way in which the bail hearing was conducted.
“It was an unusual bail hearing in that the evidence was secret,” he said. “So kind of secret evidence at a secret hearing and the reason for the secret hearing is top secret.”
He intends to argue that keeping the evidence sealed even from the defense violates his client's constitutional rights.
Deputy District Attorney Alaleh Kianerci and a spokesman for the district attorney's office did not respond to telephone and emailed messages after the hearing.
Basham is next due in court March 7.
“If there was ever any case that warranted no bail, this is it.”