21st Century Wire says…
Defendants in the Federal case against Nevada rancher, Cliven Bundy, his sons and a group of their supporters have had a key weapons charge against them dropped in a recent pretrial hearing but there is still a major legal battle ahead of them.
The charges stem from an event in April 2014 when Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) agents tried to seize Bundy’s cattle over a dispute between the Ranchers and the government about grazing fees in what the ranchers saw as federal over-reach in management of public land being at the heart of the dispute.
Mark Anderson reports on the developing story of the Bundy Ranch Trials in the article below from American Free Press.
American Free Press
A key charge on weapons was recently dropped from the charges that were filed against Nevada ranchers Cliven Bundy, his sons, and several of their supporters over their protest in 2014. So far, the case has been split into three separate trials, set to start soon in Las Vegas. AFP will continue to follow this case as it evolves throughout the summer.
LAS VEGAS, Nev.—A federal judge in a pretrial hearing on Feb. 2 dismissed the third count, related to firearms, in the 16-count indictment against rancher Cliven Bundy and 17 others stemming from their April 2014 resistance of a crackdown carried out by federal agents in Bunkerville, located in southern Nevada.
The “standoff” happened when federal agents unsuccessfully tried to seize Bundy’s cattle following a decades-long dispute that, according to the government, was over unpaid grazing fees. The event is widely seen as a collision of two worldviews—emblematic of Western landowners’ longtime efforts to resist and turn back what they see as heavy-handed federal micro-management of vast stretches of Western lands.
While the Las Vegas Review Journal online called U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro’s decision to drop count three as a “minor victory” for the men “accused of organizing a mass assault on law enforcement,” other observers have insisted that federal agents, especially those from the Bureau of Land Management, were the actual assailants.
Judge Navarro ruled to drop that count amid requests by the defense for several of the charges contained in the federal indictment to be dismissed, according to the Journal.
Paralegal Tatum Wehr, assistant to Bret Whipple, attorney for Cliven Bundy, told this AFP writer Feb. 3 that Navarro’s decision applies to all the defendants awaiting trial. That was seconded by Roger Roots, an astute Montanan who’s a legal adviser to both Cliven Bundy and his son, Ryan.
Roots explained to AFP in a phone interview that, while the dropped count has to do with the alleged use of a gun to “impede” federal officers, the three other similar gun counts that weren’t dropped allege the use of a gun to “assault,” “threaten,” and “interfere” with federal officers. In his view, those are just three ways of saying the same basic thing and that such wording is a deliberate way for the feds to get something to stick.
Roots added that a motion to dismiss the case was filed on Feb. 2.
“That will be ruled on in a couple weeks. Unless that succeeds, this thing is definitely going to trial,” he said, adding, “This case is a big exposure for these guys. We’re talking high stakes.”
According to Roots, the three remaining gun counts carry mandatory minimum sentences of several years each under what he described as an “evil” statute [USC 18, Sect. 924 (c)]. It carries stiff sentences (especially for second offenses) and mandates that the sentences be served consecutively, instead of the usual concurrent approach. The defendants could be looking at 25 years to life, depending on how many counts stick, as Roots understands it.
Roots also said the federal government has been withholding critically important evidence from the defense, amid severe moral and ethical breaches and enormously wasteful and improper spending of tax dollars during the standoff by BLM agent Dan Love, a key figure in this saga.
And with Love’s testimony being the only thing the grand jury heard in the Bundy case before issuing its indictment—meaning that the grand jury’s inherent right to do its own investigation was never exercised—the federal case evidently is far weaker than many people assume.
An insightful overview of Love’s behavior concerning the Bunkerville standoff and related matters can be heard here in an interview with Brianna Bundy, wife of defendant Mel Bundy, conducted by KSDZ-FM “The Twister” in Nebraska.
“They [BLM agents] laugh and joke about shooting women, shooting children, and dogs and horses,” Brianna told KSDZ, referring to evidence in the form of body-cam footage evidently being withheld from public knowledge. Love is accused of egging other agents on to aggressively view Cliven Bundy and his supporters as an allegedly mortal threat. The discovery process could bring this matter to light, but that has yet to happen…
READ MORE BUNDY RANCH NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Bundy Ranch Files
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