A former Aspen man facing at least 20 years in prison for cocaine trafficking is seeking an indefinite postponement of his sentencing because he says three white supremacists brutally beat him at a federal detention facility near Denver.
In a handwritten letter to Chief Judge Marcia Krieger of U.S. District Court that was filed Wednesday, Montgomery Chitty, 61, wrote that he has been treated for a possible stroke after the May 13 attack.
“My health is poor,” the letter says. “I now require a wraparound walker to maneuver.”
Chitty wrote that he is no longer able to represent himself in his case, which he has mostly done since he was arrested at his home in the Florida Keys in 2012. He fired his public defender before his February trial and had an advising attorney during the legal proceeding. A jury convicted Chitty, and he was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
Before and after his trial, Chitty had been held in the Federal Correctional Institution in Littleton. On May 31, he was moved to the Denver County Jail for unknown reasons.
Ken Deal, chief deputy with the U.S. Marshals Service for the District of Colorado, in late May confirmed that Chitty was in an altercation. He said the FBI was investigating the incident, which is standard practice whenever there are crimes involving inmates. No charges have been filed for the altercation.
Chitty’s letter says he was attacked by “neo-Nazis — a racially motivated hate crime — in retaliation for my tutoring of a 50-year-old black man hoping to earn his GED high school diploma.”
In addition to a possible stroke, he wrote that he has been treated for a severe concussion that has resulted in blurred vision, continual migraine headaches, blackouts, vertigo and damaged speech.
When he was moved to the Denver County Jail, Chitty said that his “personal possessions, including legal material, addresses, phone numbers, stamps, envelopes and everything else, including glasses, were ... taken without explanation by Bureau of Prison guards on May 13.”
Some of the legal papers have since been returned to Chitty, he wrote, and he has received a new pair of glasses.
Deal said in an email Thursday that he “can’t speak to the allegations, but as far as we understand, all of his legal material was mailed by the [Bureau of Prisons] to the Denver detention center.”
Chitty’s letter contains four requests to Krieger: that she reappoint a public defender; grant him a continuance of his July 25 sentencing so he can “obtain proper legal help and medical evaluations”; and that she order prison officials to return his possessions and have him transferred back to the Littleton detention facility.
At that site, Chitty wrote that he has access to a federal law library, legal computers, a copy machine, a dedicated federal public defender telephone and 14 hours a day of access to those resources “instead of less than one hour here at the county jail.”
“My attackers have been transferred elsewhere, and I have no fear of returning” to the Littleton facility, the letter says.
Chitty was an outspoken political gadfly during his years in Aspen, where he cultivated friendships with three generations of Pitkin County sheriffs, and the late journalists Hunter S. Thompson and Ed Bradley of “60 Minutes.” He also assisted the presidential and senatorial campaigns of Gary Hart and served on the Democratic National Committee.
At his trial, Chitty was convicted of having a years-long role in the distribution of hundreds of kilos of cocaine in Aspen. He faces a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison because of a prior marijuana conviction.
As of Thursday evening, Krieger had not ruled on Chitty’s requests.