By Maxine Bernstein | The Oregonian/OregonLive | May 05, 2017 at 5:11 PM
Ammon Bundy’s lawyer Marcus Mumford called a judge’s push to revoke his ability to practice law in federal court in Oregon a “serious and stigmatizing” sanction and unwarranted.
The Utah-based lawyer has asked U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman for more time to respond.
Mumford also wants a full transcript of last fall’s refuge occupation trial to challenge what Mosman called Mumford’s repeated failures or refusals to observe court rulings, highlighted in about 545 pages of excerpts from the trial transcript.
Mumford was supposed to file his response to Mosman by Thursday, but instead filed an 11-page memo asking for at least 45 more days, noting the gravity of Mosman’s action and that it could significantly undermine his career.
He argued that many of the challenges he raised during Bundy’s trial resulted from U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown’s rulings that limited the scope of his questions in response to objections raised by prosecutors.
“In these matters, I do not necessarily intend to argue in each instance that I was right and the court was wrong,” Mumford wrote. “As Judge Brown pointed out, there were several instances over the course of the trial where we likely just misunderstood each other.”
Mumford represented Bundy, one of seven defendants who were on trial in Portland last September for taking over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016. A jury acquitted all of them of conspiracy, weapons and other charges.
Mosman in mid-April took the rare move of seeking to revoke Mumford’s ability to practice in any federal court in the District of Oregon, citing repeated instances of Mumford yelling at Brown, inappropriate commentary on a witness in the presence of a jury and his arguing for Bundy’s release from jail after the acquittal “without a good-faith basis to believe that the pre-existing custody order” from Nevada wasn’t still in effect.
At the end of the trial, U.S. marshals tackled Mumford and stunned him with a Taser gun when he repeatedly questioned why Bundy should remain in jail. Mumford was taken into custody and released, charged with failing to follow a federal officer’s orders and court signs not to prohibit a federal officer’s official work.
Bundy is now in custody in Nevada, awaiting trial there on federal charges stemming from the 2014 armed standoff with federal land officers near his father Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Bunkerville.
On March 15, a judge specially assigned from Washington dismissed the charges against Mumford. About one month later came Mosman’s move to revoke Mumford’s ability to practice again in an Oregon federal courthouse. Mosman filed 25 exhibits with his order, mostly transcripts from Bundy’s trial in support.
Mumford said he obtained some preliminary transcripts during the course of the five-week Oregon trial but he never obtained a full transcript. He said Bundy was unable to pay for a full transcript.
“Because the government has kept Mr. Bundy in custody continually since his acquittal, he has not been able to make any further payments toward my outstanding invoice,” Mumford added in a footnote.
Mumford said Mosman’s order came without warning while he was on spring break with his seven children.
“There should be no mistake that I think the Court is gravely mistaken to even issue its (order to show cause),” Mumford wrote. “Nevertheless, I take this matter seriously.”
If Mosman does revoke Mumford’s ability to practice in any Oregon federal court, the judge will disclose the sanction to any state bar under which Mumford currently practices law, and Mumford will be required to disclose such a sanction when applying to practice in any federal court in the future.
— Maxine Bernstein