jury has been selected and while the trial was scheduled to begin Nov. 7
for the "tier 1" Bundy standoff defendants, opening statements have
been delayed until Nov. 14.
Bundy, his sons Ammon Bundy and Ryan Bundy and Ryan Payne, a Montana
army veteran and Bundy supporter, are accused of a number of felonies
including conspiracy, assault of a federal officer, extortion,
interference with interstate commerce by extortion, and more, for their
successful efforts to stop the Bureau of Land Management's cattle
gathering attempts in April of 2014.
statements will now begin next week, said Montana lawyer Roger Roots,
who works for Cliven Bundy's attorney Bret Whipple.
Whipple and Ryan Payne both presented motions on Nov. 8, Roots said.
filed a motion last night (Nov. 6) about revelations that came out in
the evidentiary hearing," Roots said. He explained that Ryan Bundy, who
represents himself, asked questions during the evidentiary hearing, the
first week of November, that revealed that government surveillance
footage exists, but has not been submitted as evidence. The undercover
surveillance cameras recorded the activities at the Bundy home during
the protest. Whipple's motion calls for the video to be presented as
Ryan Payne, who is
represented by a public defender, will file a motion Nov. 8, that
attempts to "dig into whether or not Dan Love's unethical actions have
poisoned other Bureau of Land Management officials and affected
individuals and other things that might pertain to this trial," Roots
Love, the BLM agent who led the cattle gathering operation on the Bundy
Ranch in April of 2014, has since lost his employment with the federal
agency because of unethical activities, according to reports by the U.S.
Office of the Inspector General. Love reportedly used unethical conduct
a number of times. The OIG report said Love improperly intervened in
the April 2015 hiring process for a BLM special agent position after he
learned that a friend did not make the initial list of candidates to be
interviewed, ordered emails deleted and "scrubbed" and used his
influence to obtain sold out tickets.
confirmed that District Court Judge Gloria Navarro, who oversaw the
other two Bundy standoff participant trials this year — against
defendants Eric Parker, O. Scott Drexler, Steven Stewart, Ricky
Lovelien, Greg Burleson and Todd Engel, will preside over this case as
well. Just as in the last two trials, Navarro has requested, and been
granted, a motion in limine that prevents the defendants from talking
about their First and Second Amendment rights.
The defense is not allowed to say the word "constitution" or talk about the BLM's actions that caused individuals to protest.
are not allowed to speak about the BLM killing cattle, they are not
allowed to speak about self defense in front of the jury until the judge
has a hearing outside the jury's presence about whether or not they can
make that argument," Roots said. He said the judge does not believe
that "self defense" should be mentioned in the courtroom because she
believes that the protesters were advancing, military style, on federal
officials during the Bundy standoff, rather than defending themselves
and the Bundy family.
Cliven Bundy refused to pay his BLM grazing lease for years, and
allegedly racked up around $1 million in grazing fees, trespass fees and
late fees, the BLM hired cowboys in April of 2014 to gather up the
Bundy's cattle with the intent to sell them. Fed up with what they
considered government mismanagement of federal land and government
overreach, around 200 protesters from across the country traveled to
Bunkerville, Nev., to protest the government taking of the Bundy
family's cattle. On April 12, the BLM retreated and left the Bundy ranch
and cattle, although some cattle had been killed in the process and
others died later as the result of the gather that occurred during
Two of the "tier 3"
defendants Todd Engel of Idaho and Gregory Burleson of Arizona were
found guilty of at least one felony but have not yet been sentenced. Two
other "tier 3" defendants, Steven Stewart of Idaho and Ricky Lovelien
of Montana were acquitted of all charges, while the other two, Eric
Parker and O. Scott Drexler, both of Idaho, pled guilty to a misdemeanor
and were released from prison. The "tier 3 defendants" are considered
"mid–level" participants in the April 12 standoff between the BLM and
the Bundy family, militia and protesters.
2 defendants still await trial: Dave Bundy, Mel Bundy, Joseph
O'Shaughnessy, Brian Cavalier, Jason Woods and Micah McGuire.