Nevada rancher freed from prison as federal judge dismisses charges ‘with prejudice’

by WorldTribune Staff, January 9, 2018

The charges against Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, his two sons and another co-defendant were dismissed by a federal judge on Jan. 8.

Nevada District Judge Gloria Navarro dismissed the charges against Cliven Bundy, Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy and Ryan Payne “with prejudice,” meaning they can’t be put on trial again for their roles in the 2014 standoff with federal officers.

Cliven Bundy

Navarro also ordered the defendants to be released from prison.

“The government’s conduct in this case was indeed outrageous,” Navarro said. “There has been flagrant misconduct, substantial prejudice and no lesser remedy is sufficient.”

Cliven Bundy called himself a “political prisoner” for 700 days and said his argument lies with local authorities, not the federal government.

“I come in this courtroom an innocent man and I’m going to leave as an innocent man,” he said.

“My defense is a 15-second defense,” he said. “I raised my cattle only on Clark County, Nevada, land and I have no contract with the federal government. This court has no jurisdiction and authority over this matter.”

Prosecutors and the lead FBI agents in the case did not make any statements in court on Jan. 8.

Navarro on Dec. 20 had declared a mistrial in the case after finding prosecutors withheld six types of evidence from defendants, representing at least 1,000 pages of documents, that should have been shared at least a month before the trial started in November. She said then that she would consider whether to dismiss the case outright or allow a new trial.

Navarro she “seriously questions” that the FBI “inexplicably placed” but “perhaps hid” a tactical operations log that referred to the presence of snipers outside the Bundy residence on a “thumb drive inside a vehicle for three years,” when the government has had four years to prepare the case.

“The court has found that a universal sense of justice has been violated,” Navarro said.

Later on Jan. 8, Nevada’s interim U.S. Attorney Dayle Elieson, released a short statement, saying, “We respect the court’s ruling and will make a determination about the next appropriate steps.” The government may appeal the dismissal.

In October 2016, an Oregon jury acquitted all seven defendants, including Ammon and Ryan Bundy, charged in connection to the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

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