Brad Watsabaugh pleaded no contest to driving without insurance in a recent deal with prosecutors, who dropped two other traffic charges Watsabaugh was facing.
It’s been more than three years since Watsabaugh was pulled over in Jackson for driving with a homemade license plate.
Traffic tickets like driving under suspension and without insurance are usually resolved in a few weeks but Watsabaugh, who identifies as a “private national,” argued for years over the misdemeanor case.
Watsabaugh said what he did wasn’t a crime because there was no victim involved. He repeatedly said his presence in court was under threat.
Watsabaugh was reprimanded in Teton County Circuit Court in August for not following court orders.
Judge Robert Denhardt called Watsabaugh’s arguments “flim-flam” and “tomfoolery” before he threatened to arrest him.
“This is nonsense we aren’t going to put up with,” Denhardt said. “You play those games with this court, and I will put you in custody, and I will come back in a month and see if you want to play by the rules of the criminal law.”
Denhardt was assigned to Watsabaugh’s criminal traffic case after the 47-year-old accused Judge James Radda of bias and prejudice.
“Your pleadings are full of a lot of conclusions but no facts,” Denhardt told Watsabaugh. “You are the defendant in this case whether or not that’s how you want to look at it.”
Watsabaugh sent a plea by mail in late September but also sent an “addendum to plea agreement.”
“This is not in any way to be deemed as consent to jurisdiction, codified law or to be surety for the defendant as this agreement is made under threat, duress and coercion,” Watsabaugh wrote. “This agreement is accepted in full and all proceedings relating to these matters in your court are resolved and I am left to be free on the land.”
Watsabaugh says he removed himself from the government system in 2014 after officials took away the house he built on Budge Drive. He sent notice, he claims, to the Teton County Sheriff’s Office and the Wyoming Department of Motor Vehicles, alerting them to his canceled license.
Watsabaugh, who says his status as a private national is different than that of a sovereign citizen, had to either take the plea bargain or go to trial.
“I simply want to be left at peace and have remedy for the wrongs done,” Watsabaugh previously wrote in a statement to the News&Guide.
Watsabaugh was fined $500.