Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy organized a resistance and standoff with federal officials over what he and other ranchers called extremely unfair government practices concerning their grazing rights. The Obama administration claimed that Bundy owed $1 million in back grazing fees, but the rancher disputed that claim and stood up to the federal government.
He as eventually arrested, along with others in the resistance and placed on trial. During the trial, it was learned of more unfair practices by the government and prosecutors, including that the government agents had a hit list with Bundy’s name on the top.
Yesterday, a federal judge declared a mistrial in the case of Bundy and three others, citing that the prosecution had withheld key evidence from the defense.
(Washington Post) – A federal judge declared a mistrial Wednesday in the criminal conspiracy case against rancher Cliven Bundy and three other defendants, saying government lawyers suppressed key evidence that would have been favorable to the defendants’ case related to a 2014 standoff with federal agents.
U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro determined that the prosecution suppressed evidence from FBI surveillance cameras recording the Bundy family home and the presence of Bureau of Land Management snipers around the property in the days leading up to the standoff there. Additionally, the prosecution did not provide FBI logs, maps, reports and threat assessments that said the Bundy family was not dangerous.
Navarro pointed to assessments conducted by the FBI, the Southern Nevada Counter Terrorism Center and the BLM that said “the Bundy family is not violent” and that they “would probably get in your face, but not get into a shootout.”
The court “regrettably believes a mistrial is the only suitable option,” Navarro told the packed Nevada courtroom. “A fair trial at this point is impossible.” …
The judge clarified that this was not an acquittal and that it was ultimately up to a jury to decide if Bundy, his two sons and fellow militiaman Ryan Payne are guilty or innocent of the charge of conspiring to commit a crime against BLM officers during the armed standoff with federal officials. Bundy remains in jail, but his attorney is working to get him released.