Lawyers for the Las Vegas Review-Journal filed a motion Friday seeking access to jury information in the upcoming trial against associates of rancher Cliven Bundy.
The motion, filed in federal court in Las Vegas, asks a judge for access to jurors’ names. It also seeks access to copies of the questionnaires sent out to potential jurors.
“There is no valid reason to seal juror names during voir dire and trial in this case,” Review-Journal lawyer Maggie McLetchie wrote in the filing. “To do so would be inimical to this Country’s and this Court’s long tradition of open trials, guaranteed by both the First Amendment and common law - a right of access that is always important, but particularly critical in this case.”
U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro ruled recently to keep jurors’ names private in what is anticipated to be a high-profile case. The questionnaires, which will help empanel a jury for the upcoming trial, are likewise private.
The first trial in the case against Bundy and his supporters is scheduled to open Monday. Six people — whom the government labels as “gunmen” in the armed confrontation — will stand trial on extortion, conspiracy to commit an assault against the United States, threats, and other charges resulting from the April 2014 standoff in Bunkerville.
The armed standoff occurred after Bureau of Land Management agents, acting on a court order, tried to seize Bundy’s cattle following a decades-long dispute over unpaid grazing fees. Bundy and his family members responded with a large-scale protest, claiming that the federal government did not have jurisdiction on their land.