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Bizarre court appearance for “Super Dell” Schanze ends with him in handcuffs

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Posted at 1:07 PM, Dec 11, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-12 00:01:26-05

SALT  LAKE CITY -- A federal court appearance for former TV pitchman and one-time gubernatorial candidate "Super Dell" Schanze took a bizarre twist when he interrupted another defendant's hearing and ended up in handcuffs.

Schanze is facing federal misdemeanor charges of using an aircraft to harass wildlife and pursuing a migratory bird stemming from a 2011 incident where someone on a powerglider chased an owl and kicked it. A video of the incident surfaced on YouTube, prompting a federal investigation.

On his way into court on Thursday, Schanze refused to comment on the charges.

"Not to you guys," he told FOX 13. "You guys are evil. Stop lying."

Schanze was to make an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells.

As he waited to be called, she was handling another defendant's case, imposing routine pre-trial conditions of release.

Schanze then stood in the courtroom.

"Your honor, may I address you?" he said. "That's totally unconstitutional."

"Sit down," Judge Wells said.

Schanze continued to address the judge as U.S. Marshals in the courtroom swarmed him.

"That's totally not cool!" Schanze protested.

"Take him into custody, please," Judge Wells snapped as he was handcuffed and led into a side-room. "Sir, when you're prepared to behave yourself in court, we'll call your case."

A few minutes later, Schanze was brought back into the courtroom, still in handcuffs.

"I would move to dismiss the case," he told the court. "It's all based on a fake YouTube video."

Judge Wells refused and attempted to find out if Schanze had the money to hire a lawyer. He argued with her over his family's income.

"I'm not going to play these games," Judge Wells said, losing patience. "I advise you to be quiet now or I will have you taken and further confined. Do you understand?"

"Yes," he replied.

Judge Wells appointed a public defender to represent him. She read the charges and asked him to enter a plea.

"Not guilty," Schanze told her.

A one-day trial was set for Feb. 17, 2015.

The judge asked prosecutors whether Schanze, who was seated in handcuffs, should be released.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for Utah noted the previous charges that have been filed against him but said they didn't mind, so long as conditions were set -- including the removal of firearms from his home. Schanze objected as his lawyer attempted to silence him, saying: "I won those cases!"Judge Wells said she was not going to release Schanze unless firearms were removed.

His attorney, Kent Hart, said Schanze had passionate feelings about the Second Amendment but after a few minutes discussing it with his client that he would surrender guns.

Judge Wells abruptly ended the hearing, setting another hearing later in the afternoon to discuss whether he would be released from custody.

At that hearing, Schanze was more contrite as Judge Wells announced she would allow him to be released with conditions. He must surrender his passport, firearms and undergo a mental health evaluation and take any recommended treatment or medications.

"I make that finding based on your behavior and your previous history of firearms possession and threats made with firearms," the judge said.

Schanze left the courthouse with his wife a short time later, avoiding TV cameras outside.

Schanze gained fame for his TV commercials pitching his computer retail chain, Totally Awesome Computers. He also ran as the Libertarian candidate for governor.