Portland Oregon - Feds add misdemeanor charges: trespass,tampering w/vehicles and equipment,destruction &removal of prop against some of defs.

Charges for 4 Counts of Tampering with Vehicles and Equipment, 1 Count of Destruction and Removal of Property and 1 Count of Removal of Property.

Prosecutors file misdemeanor charges against second round of refuge occupiers headed to trial

12-19-16 : the Oregonian

Federal prosecutors Monday filed a variety of misdemeanor charges, including trespass, tampering with vehicles and equipment, and destruction and removal of property against some of the remaining defendants awaiting trial in the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

The new misdemeanor charges follow a federal jury's across-the-board acquittals in late October of refuge occupation leader Ammon Bundy, his older brother Ryan Bundy and five other co-defendants on federal conspiracy to impede, weapons and theft of government property charges at the conclusion of a five-week trial.

A trial for seven remaining defendants is set for Feb. 14

They are : Jason Patrick of Bonaire, Georgia; Duane Leo Ehmer of Irrigon; Dylan Anderson of Provo, Utah; Sean Anderson and his wife, Sandra Lynn Anderson, of Riggins, Idaho; Darryl W. Thorn of Marysville, Washington; and Jake Ryan of Plains, Montana.

All seven still are charged with conspiring to impede federal employees of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or Bureau of Land Management from carrying out their work at the federal wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon during the 41-day occupation of the property.

Six of the seven, excluding Duane Ehmer, are also charged with possession of a firearm in a federal facility during the course of the alleged conspiracy.

The gun and conspiracy charges are felonies.

Now, all seven also face a misdemeanor charge of trespassing, accused of "knowingly and unlawfully'' entering, occupying and using the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge without authorization.

Patrick faces additional charges of tampering with vehicles and equipment, specifically entering a government Dodge Durango on Jan. 27, and destruction and removal of public property, alleged to have cut a barbed-wire fence on the refuge perimeter on Jan. 11.

Ehmer and Ryan also are charged with tampering with vehicles and equipment, alleged to have started an excavator for the building of a trench on the refuge property on Jan. 27, a day after the occupation leaders were arrested.

Ehmer also is charged with destruction and removal of property, alleged to have taken a maroon pouch from refuge headquarters that contained checks, credit cards, gas cards, a government identification card and cash belonging to the Friends of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Thorn also is charged with two counts of tampering with vehicles , accused of starting a government-owned front-end loader on the refuge and operating an all-terrain vehicle belonging to the government between Jan. 2 and Jan. 27.

The government also is seeking forfeiture of defendants' guns or ammunition used in the commission of the alleged misdemeanor crimes, according to the information filed in court Monday.

Prosecutors have indicated they plan to keep a charge of depredation of government property against Jake Ryan, but dismiss it against Sean Anderson, an earlier report said. The government also seeks a grand jury indictment on a government property depredation charge against Ehmer, Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Gabriel wrote in n earlier report.

In other action Monday, U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown issued a written order, dismissing defendant Patrick's motion to dismiss the conspiracy indictment. Patrick had alleged that the public remarks Oregon U.S. Attorney Billy Williams, Oregon's top FBI special agent in charge Greg Bretzing, and the U.S. Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell made after the verdicts in the Bundy trial were announced would prejudice the remaining defendants in the case.

Brown found Patrick's motion had no merit, noting that the reactions each official gave demonstrated a "laudable respect for the jury, the Court, and the judicial system and would not prejudice the remaining defendants awaiting trial.

"The statements of United States Attorney Williams, Special Agent in Charge Bretzing, and Secretary Jewell were professional and expressed the to-be-expected disappointment that they felt as a result of the verdict adverse to their respective positions in the trial,'' Brown wrote.

-- Maxine Bernstein


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