Ryan Bundy asks judge to dismiss his charges in Bunkerville standoff case

Ryan Bundy, who previously accused federal authorities of violating the Constitution when they seized his father’s cattle, now claims he has been denied his right to a speedy trial.

In a motion filed late Wednesday, Bundy asks a federal judge to dismiss his 16-count indictment on threats, extortion and related charges stemming from the 2014 armed standoff near his family ranch in Bunkerville. Prosecutors are trying the first of three groups of people charged in the case, and Bundy is in the second trial group.

“The speedy trial right trumps any countervailing problems with courthouse facilities, overburdened court staff, or caseload,” wrote Bundy, who is representing himself. “The very purpose of the speedy trial right is to disincentivize the filing of onerous, vexatious and unnecessarily complex cases (like this case).”

Bundy accuses the government of tactically delaying the case by structuring it “in a repetitive style with multiplicitous counts to give an appearance of complexity.”

The standoff occurred in April 2014, but prosecutors did not announce charges until February of last year. In the intervening period, federal investigators staged an undercover operation in which they posed as documentary filmmakers to gain access to the people involved.

Bundy asserts that the undercover FBI operation was the “real reason” federal prosecutors did not bring charges until two years after the standoff occurred. He accuses undercover FBI agents of using “attractive women” and “alcohol” to trick his supporters into giving incriminating statements.

“The government spent more than half a million dollars on the creation of a fake film company designed to trick defendants into making boastful, false and incriminating statements that could be used against Defendants,” Bundy wrote in his filing.

Defense attorneys previously argued that evidence gathered during the undercover operation should not be admitted at trial, but a judge sided with the government and ruled the statements were admissible.

Bundy further argues that several key defense witnesses have died in the three years that have passed since the standoff.

“Evidence and witnesses have gone missing and evaporated,” he wrote in his filing.

Among the witnesses who died was LaVoy Finicum, who participated in the Bunkerville standoff and later was shot by law enforcement during protesters’ occupation of an Oregon wildlife refuge in early 2016.

“Finicum was also the most important first-hand witness to the distressed and deteriorated condition of the cattle while in BLM custody,” Bundy wrote.

The people charged in the case accuse federal authorities of mistreating the cattle during the impoundment operation, but the judge has limited defense attorneys in what evidence they can introduce at trial related to cattle mistreatment.

Bundy and his brother, Ammon, who likewise is being held without bail pending trial, recently were acquitted on charges related to the 41-day standoff in Oregon.

In Wednesday’s filing, Ryan Bundy wrote that he has been held “in solitary confinement or in distant holding cells without legal materials or focused on other false federal charges in the U.S. District of Oregon.”

He is being held at Nevada Southern Detention Center in Pahrump.

The U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment on Bundy’s filing.

Contact Jenny Wilson at jenwilson@reviewjournal.com or 702-384-8710. Follow @jennydwilson on Twitter

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Posted in Bundy Ranch, Court, LV Review Journal, News.

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