Mis­trial de­clared in Bundy stand­off case af­ter jury deadlocks.

Jury deadlocks on con­spir­acy counts

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY VA­LERIE RICHARD­SON This ar­ti­cle is based in part on wire ser­vice re­ports.

A fed­eral judge on Mon­day de­clared a mis­trial af­ter a jury dead­locked on con­spir­acy counts against six men charged in the 2014 armed stand­off be­tween the Bureau of Land Man­age­ment and Ne­vada’s Bundy ranch­ing fam­ily.

The jury had reached guilty ver­dicts ear­lier Mon­day on lesser charges against two of the six de­fen­dants, but jurors de­clared them­selves “hope­lessly dead­locked” on fed­eral con­spir­acy charges against the group.

Greg Burleson, 53, of Phoenix, and Todd En­gel, 49, of Bound­ary County, Idaho, were found guilty of ob­struc­tion of jus­tice and in­ter­state travel in aid of ex­tor­tion stem­ming from the April 2014 clash over graz­ing rights on fed­eral land.

Burleson, who was de­scribed as an exFBI in­for­mant and shown in a video say­ing he posed as a mem­ber of a bo­gus film crew dur­ing the stand­off, was con­victed on six other counts, in­clud­ing threat­en­ing and as­sault­ing a fed­eral of­fi­cer.

U.S. District Chief Judge Glo­ria Navarro set an­other trial date af­ter the jury reached an im­passe for the sec­ond time Mon­day, sev­eral hours she sent them back with or­ders to con­tinue de­lib­er­a­tions at the Las Vegas court­house.

This isn’t the first time the Bundy fam­ily and its sup­port­ers have thwarted fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors.

In Oc­to­ber, an Ore­gon jury ac­quit­ted eight oc­cu­piers, in­clud­ing brothers Am­mon and Ryan Bundy, on con­spir­acy charges from their takeover of the Mal­heur Na­tional Wildlife Refuge in a protest against fed­eral land-man­age­ment poli­cies.

The Ne­vada trial was slated as the first of three in­volv­ing a to­tal of 17 de­fen­dants con­nected to the BLM stand­off. No mem­bers of the Bundy fam­ily were part of the first group, which con­sisted of men iden­ti­fied by the court as low-level par­tic­i­pants or “gun­men.”

The six men were tried at the same time on multiple of­fenses stem­ming from their in­volve­ment in block­ing the BLM’s ef­fort to im­pound more than 400 head of cat­tle from the Bundy ranch near Bunkerville, Ne­vada.

Their new trial is slated to begin June 26, which was orig­i­nally the start date for the next tier of de­fen­dants charged in the high-pro­file con­fronta­tion.

Rancher Cliven Bundy and his fol­low­ers, who out­num­bered the agents by 4-to-1, “de­manded that of­fi­cers leave and aban­don the cat­tle and threat­ened use of force if the of­fi­cers did not do so,” with some gun­men “tak­ing sniper po­si­tions be­hind con­crete bar­ri­ers and aim­ing their as­sault ri­fles at the of­fi­cers,” ac­cord­ing to a court doc­u­ment.

The at­tempt to re­move the cat­tle came af­ter a 20-year le­gal bat­tle stem­ming from Mr. Bundy’s re­fusal to pay graz­ing fees to the fed­eral govern­ment, say­ing he did not rec­og­nize its author­ity and that he would pay the state in­stead.

No shots were fired dur­ing the stand­off. In ad­di­tion to En­gel and Burleson, the six de­fen­dants in the first tier in­cluded Richard Lovelien, Eric Parker, O. Scott Drexler and Steven Ste­wart.

Cliven Bundy and his sons, Am­mon and Ryan, are slated to ap­pear in the third tier of de­fen­dants, which is re­served for the con­fronta­tion’s lead­ers.

Chris Krupp, pub­lic lands guardian for WildEarth Guardians, ap­plauded the jury’s ini­tial guilty ver­dicts.

“There is at least some ini­tial jus­tice here, with one of the men con­victed on the pri­mary charges as­so­ci­ated with us­ing a gun to threaten and as­sault fed­eral officials,” Mr. Krupp said Mon­day in a state­ment.

John Lamb, a Mon­tana farmer and Bundy sup­porter who livestreamed the scene out­side the Las Vegas court­house, said be­fore the mis­trial that he thought the Jus­tice Depart­ment’s case was weak.

“I don’t think there was a case here all along, that the govern­ment fab­ri­cated a bunch of stuff, and the jurors are prov­ing it,” Mr. Lamb said on his Face­book page.

“There’s isn’t re­ally any Com­mon Core any­more, and each state is able to set the stan­dards for their state.”

— Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary Betsy DeVos, on the aca­demic stan­dards ini­tia­tive spon­sored by the Na­tional Gov­er­nors As­so­ci­a­tion and the Coun­cil of Chief State School Of­fi­cers


On Mon­day, a jury in Las Vegas reached guilty ver­dicts on lesser charges of two of the six Bundy de­fen­dants. But jurors said they were “hope­lessly dead­locked” on the fed­eral con­spir­acy charges against the group. A fed­eral judge de­clared a mis­trial for the case.

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