1961: The CIA recruits Gen. Vang Pao to raise an army for a secret war against Lao communists.

1973: The United States pulls troops out of Southeast Asia.

1975: Communists are victorious. Vang is airlifted from his secret Lao airbase; thousands of Hmong flee Laos.

June 4, 2007: Vang and other Hmong leaders and one retired U.S. Army colonel are charged in Sacramento federal court of plotting the overthrow of Laos.

June 12, 2007: First of a series of rallies in Sacramento in support of the accused Hmong leaders.

June 19, 2007: More than 500 Hmong-Americans rally in St. Paul in support of Vang (shown above).

July 12, 2007: Seven defendants are ordered released on bail; Vang leaves jail the next day.

November 2007: Judge gives Vang permission to leave his California home, where he is under house arrest, to attend Hmong Minnesota New Year celebration in St. Paul.

Sept. 18: The federal government drops its charges against Vang and adds two more defendants to the indictment, bringing the total number of defendants to 12.