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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
News >  Pacific NW

Sackett, who took on EPA, gets prison in sex case

A Priest Lake man who beat the Environmental Protection Agency in a wetlands dispute decided by the nation’s highest court will spend more than a year in prison for a sex crime committed in North Dakota.

Mike Sackett was ordered Tuesday to report to prison officials within the week.

U.S. District Court Judge Daniel L. Hovland in North Dakota accepted Sackett’s request for a lesser sentence. He had faced a potential sentence of between 51 months and 71 months. Instead he will be imprisoned for 13 months.

The Bismarck Tribune in North Dakota reported earlier this week that Hovland chose to give Sackett a lesser sentence because of his lack of criminal history and long record of employment.

Sackett worked for a Spokane company run by Spokane developer Harley Douglass. The Spokesman-Review confirmed earlier this summer that Sackett has continued to work for Douglass’ company Crushed Rock Sales North America while facing a single count of attempted sex trafficking of a minor. Sackett pleaded guilty this week to a lesser charge – attempting to coerce a minor into performing sexual activity.

A message to the U.S. assistant district attorney in charge of prosecuting Sackett’s case was not returned.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security received texts from Sackett’s phone in October 2013 in response to a fake advertisement promising sex with underage girls. Sackett negotiated via text for an hour of sex with a 12-year-old, according to an affidavit filed by Homeland Security Agent Darrik Trudell.

Sackett arrived at a negotiated meeting place, got into a vehicle with an undercover agent, then left the vehicle after discussing the possibility of having anal sex with the child, according to Trudell’s statement. He was subsequently arrested and federal agents seized two smartphones.

Three years ago, Sackett’s litigation against the EPA went before the U.S. Supreme Court. He had filled an area identified as a wetland on his Priest Lake property. In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled Sackett had the legal authority to challenge EPA citations that would have cost him $37,500 for each day he didn’t remove the fill.

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