“In the end, Michael Hartmann made the best deal he could–if he was going to save his family–when he pleaded guilty Monday to two misdemeanors in connection with sales of raw milk and other foods, and agreed to pay a fine of $585. Seven other misdemeanor charges were dismissed in the process.
According to news accounts, he was placed under non-supervised parole for six months and ordered to comply with all state labeling and licensing regulations.
In the end, also, Hartmann went alone to his fate. He didn’t want supporters present, and he has many. Perhaps he went alone because this particular court case had become a private matter between himself and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. There was no glory in copping a plea, so why have supporters waste their time and energy coming, he may have reasoned. (He hasn’t been talking to the media, nor has he wanted media attention when I’ve spoken with him over the last year.)
So why make a deal with the enforcers he has challenged for years? There obviously was no fear on his part in dealing with the brutes at the MDA. The fear was for his family. You see, the MDA had gotten the local prosecutor to file similar misdemeanor charges against his wife, Diane, and his brother, Roger, and an associate–essentially taken them legally hostage. And no way was Michael Hartmann going to let them be exposed to the ongoing pressures of a trial and possible jail time so the MDA thugs could say they got someone in the Hartmann family.
So the deal was basically a way to protect his family from the MDA’s ravages, according to associates, something he has been intent on doing since the matter first came up earlier this year. Being the man he is, he decided to sacrifice himself on behalf of his family–the deal also provided for dropping all the charges against his family members….”