Roger Christie will likely spend his third Christmas in a row in a federal prison in Honolulu on felony drug charges.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Leslie Kobayashi denied Christie’s request to be released on bail to his home in Hilo or to a halfway house in Kalihi.

It was Christie’s sixth attempt at bail, but Kobayashi agreed with earlier rulings that Christie might not abide by the terms and conditions of release.

Kobayashi pointed to actions by Christie and his co-defendants that suggested to her it would not be wise to have Christie free on bail until his trail begins next January.

For one, his wife, Share Christie, has not been “problem free” while she awaits trial. For another, there is concern that there might be attempts to influence other co-defendants who could be called as witnesses.

And, to Kobayashi it was also clear that it was the Christies themselves who had requested delay of the trial several times, detracting from a sense of urgency that Roger Christie needed to be released right now.

Finally, though defendants are innocent until proven guilty, Kobayashi said she must accept “as true” the allegations against Christie, and thus he could be a flight risk and a danger to the community if released. She seemed persuaded by arguments from U.S. Attorney Michael Kawahara that Christie was indeed engaged in manufacturing, possessing and dispensing marijuana for profit purposes, not for religious purposes.

All that will be taken up in the trial, barring a decision by the Christies to plea bargain.

In the meantime, Share Christie is running for mayor of Hawaii County, a position Roger once sought. And a public relations firm, Mintwood Media, is working on behalf of Christie.

“Reverend Christie’s resolve in the face of coercive, indefinite imprisonment for the past two years, successfully demonstrates the sincerity needed to reclaim spiritual legitimacy of the world’s most ancient global culture,” stated Christie friend and “cannabis scholar” Paul J. von Hartmann in an Aug. 3 press release. “It remains to be seen whether people will support his heroic effort to defend everyone’s fundamental human right of religious freedom.”

It’s unclear who is paying for the PR.

Still A Danger

Asked about how Share Christie may have hurt her husband’s request for release, Roger Christie’s attorney, Thomas Otake, referred questions to Share’s attorney but noted that Share had distributed literature related to the ministry.

One of the key conditions of Roger Christie’s release would be that he would not resume his work for his THC Ministry in Hilo.

Otake’s argument for Christie’s release was centered on the fact that the ministry had been out of operation ever since Roger was arrested in July 2010. He argued that his client understood that he could not resume his practice. Otake described Christie as “a peaceful man” who had no prior convictions.

But Kawahara read from wiretaps of phone calls involving the Christies in 2009. The wiretaps demonstrated, Kawahara said, that the THC Ministry existed for the purpose of making a profit and that the religious exemption was just an attempt to avoid prosecution.

Christie, 63, is dying to make his case before a courtroom “and the court of public opinion,” as he sat in Kobayashi’s court Tuesday. Otake, his second attorney, appears to be articulating the case that Christie wants made — that he has a First Amendement right to use pot as sacrament.

But Kawahara is passionate about the prosecution. His voice rose in animation as he read back from the wiretap transcripts. He noted that the definition of “danger to the community” was not simply about being violent but showing “a proclivity” to commit other crimes.

As Kawahara argued before the judge, Christie’s face — pale against his white prison garb — reddened. He whispered into Otake’s ear and at one point smiled tightly and shook his head.

After the hearing, Otake described his client as “obviously disappointed.” He said he would talk with Christie about whether he wanted to appeal, and he said he would continue with his request to dismiss USA v. Roger Christie on the grounds that marijuana should not be a Schedule I drug along with heroin and cocaine.

The case has become a rallying point for legalizing marijuana.

Earlier, several Christie supporters sat in the courtroom including a heavyset man in an aloha shirt and shorts who mumbled things like “land of the free” and “right to a fair trial” in earshot of others. After the hearing, he frequently tried to interrupt Otake as he was being interviewed by the press.

Reached by telephone, Share Christie told Civil Beat, “I love our country but I hate our corporate government.”

She said she felt bad for Roger’s mother, who is receiving care for Alzheimer’s in Colorado.

“He tries to call her every Sunday,” she said.

Otake said the condition of Christie’s mother was one reason why his client should be released. But Kobayashi, who expressed sympathy, said the better route might be a furlough.

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