The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

PORTLAND, Ore. (Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors on Friday regrouped to strategize for their next trial of armed militants who occupied a wildlife center in Oregon the day after seven others at a related trial were surprisingly acquitted of all charges.

The group’s leader, Ammon Bundy, and six others were declared not guilty on Thursday of conspiracy charges stemming from their role in the armed takeover and 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

The stinging defeat left federal prosecutors scrambling as they prepare to try in February seven others who were part of the same occupation.

The criminal counts brought against them, which include conspiracy to impede federal officers, are similar to the charges on which Bundy and other were acquitted.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland abruptly canceled a news conference to discuss Thursday’s verdict.

“We’re just regrouping with our trial team for pending litigation,” said Kevin Sonoff, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oregon.

Bundy and his brother, Ryan, still face assault, conspiracy and other charges from a separate armed standoff in 2014 in Nevada.

The acquittal on criminal conspiracy counts and weapons charges delivered in federal court in Portland on Thursday also encouraged the group’s supporters.

Bundy and others cast the occupation of the wildlife refuge as a patriotic act of civil disobedience. Prosecutors called it a lawless scheme to seize federal property by force.

The relative silence of U.S. prosecutors on Friday gave little indication of how they will proceed with the trial against the Bundys in Nevada and the case against the second group of defendants in the Oregon occupation.

U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden in Nevada in a statement on Friday said the criminal case in that state is proceeding as planned with trial set for February, the same month as the second trial in Oregon.

“The Oregon case and charges are separate and unrelated to the Nevada case and charges,” Bogden said.

The Nevada case stems from a face-off the Bundy brothers and their supporters had near the Nevada ranch of their father, Cliven Bundy, with federal agents who had seized his cattle for his failure to pay grazing fees for his use of public land.

The Bundy brothers and their father remain jailed while awaiting trial in Nevada.

(Additional reporting by Joseph Ax in New York, Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

IMAGE: clockwise from top left) Ryan Bundy, Ammon Bundy, Brian Cavalier, Peter Santilli, Shawna Cox, Ryan Payne and Joseph O’Shaughnessy, limited-government activists who led an armed 41-day takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, are seen in a combination of police jail booking photos released by the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office in Portland, Oregon January 27, 2016.   Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office/Handout via Reuters/File Photo

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Americans are currently experiencing one of the most peculiar public episodes of my lifetime. Amid a deadly worldwide disease epidemic, many people are behaving like medieval peasants: alternately denying the existence of the plague, blaming an assortment of imaginary villains, or running around seeking chimerical miracle cures.

Feed store Ivermectin? I've administered it to horses, cows and dogs. But to my wife? No thank you. It says right on the label that it's not for human consumption. But at least you won't die of heartworm.

Keep reading... Show less

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

x
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}