Northern California farmer John Duarte spent years fighting the federal government after being fined for plowing over protected wetlands on his property. He attracted a nationwide army of conservative supporters who saw it as government overreach and hoped the Trump administration would order federal officials to back off.
But just before his trial was set to start Tuesday, Duarte settled.
Duarte agreed to pay $330,000 in fines and another $770,000 on “compensatory mitigation,” according to a settlement agreement reached shortly before proceedings were to begin in U.S. District Court in Sacramento.
A judge already had ruled that Duarte broke the law; the trial was going to establish the penalties. The government had sought a $2.8 million fine and tens of millions of dollars in mitigation expenses.