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UW student charged with online threat won't be tried

Oct 2, 2013 - The Associated Press

LARAMIE -- A former University of Wyoming student accused of posting an anonymous Facebook threat against herself intends to plead no contest, her attorney said.

The development led an Albany County Circuit Court judge on Monday to cancel a trial for Meghan Lanker-Simons, a vocal advocate for liberal causes. Lanker-Simons is charged with misdemeanor interfering with a peace officer.

Defense attorney Vaughn Neubauer told Circuit Court Judge Randal Arp on Monday that Lanker-Simons intends to change her plea from not guilty to no contest in an agreement with prosecutors in exchange for her paying a fine and receiving no jail time.

Prosecutor Joshua Merseal said he preferred a plea deal to a trial.

"It would be more of a mess than the expense warrants, if that makes sense to the court," Merseal said.

The trial was scheduled for next week.

The charge against Lanker-Simons stems from a UW Police Department investigation earlier this year into a graphic, sexual comment against Lanker-Simons. Investigators say Lanker-Simons authored the post, which was written to appear as if it were authored by a conservative Republican.

Lanker-Simons gained national attention in 2010 when she filed a lawsuit against the university that forced UW to allow 1960s radical Bill Ayers on the campus for a speech on education.

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