Ammon Bundy, who led an armed occupation of a U.S. wildlife center in Oregon earlier this year, testified in federal court on Thursday that his hostility toward federal land ownership was shaped by his religious faith and “natural laws.”
Taking the witness stand for a third day at his conspiracy trial in U.S. District Court in Portland, Bundy delved further into the ideology he said was behind the forcible takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by a band of militants in January.
Bundy told jurors that his group seized the refuge in rural eastern Oregon not only to protest what they saw as overreach by the U.S. government but to show how public lands should be entrusted to private citizens according to an ancient, divinely inspired set of doctrines.
“These principles, they're not something that comes and goes,” Bundy, 41, said under questioning from his attorney. “They're natural laws that we were teaching.”