Cliven Bundy at his Nevada ranch in 2014.John Locher/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP
In 2014, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy became a right-wing folk hero after he led an armed standoff with federal law enforcement over the Bureau of Land Management’s attempt to seize his cattle. He’d been illegally grazing the cows on federal land for decades and, despite court orders, refusing to pay more than $1 million in overdue grazing fees and fines. Militia groups and tea party types have rallied around Bundy as he fights criminal charges related to the “Battle of Bunkerville.”
And now that President Donald Trump has pardoned Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, infamous for his extreme use of profiling to target undocumented immigrants, Bundy’s supporters see an opportunity for him as well. Bundy has been in jail since February 2016 and is set to stand trial on October 10 for his role in the ranch standoff, along with his sons Ryan and Ammon and four other defendants.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has only been around since 1946 and has not had too many noteworthy events in their own right. The most noteworthy of all BLM operations in the past decades seems to be the Bunkerville Standoff and the underlying cattle impoundment operation that preceded the protest.
When the BLM are actively involved with any situation they, like all other departments of the Federal Government, will issue press releases so the public will understand said events (their version).
The BLM Website has an entire section devoted to press releases dating back to November 2006. There are hundreds of press releases, almost an average of one per day.
Pete Santilli’s attorney dropped a bombshell in a Las Vegas courtroom today when he stated that his client has reached a plea agreement with the government.
Chris Rasmussen, Santilli’s attorney, also withdrew every motion their team has filed based on the plea deal.
The agreement includes Santilli agreeing to a Felony count of obstruction of justice, based on his blocking a BLM truck prior to the Bunkerville standoff.
Santilli will receive ‘time served’ and is expected to be released within the next few days. No other details have been released for this deal.
Defense teams are scrambling to preserve Santilli’s motions and subpoenas related to the upcoming trial, as it is scheduled for jury selection to begin next week.
A defendant in the trial set to begin in Nevada next week against Cliven Bundy and others in their 2014 standoff with federal agents has asked for a delay, citing the mass shooting in Las Vegas by a man who lived a few miles from the Bundy Ranch.
The carnage will prejudice potential jurors and prevent a fair hearing, the lawyers for Ryan Payne argued in a motion to continue the trial for at least two months.
Las Vegas is deep in mourning following Sunday’s unfathomable massacre at an outdoor country music festival that killed 59 people and wounded more than 500, the lawyers wrote. The gunman, Stephen Paddock, lived in Mesquite, Nevada, just northeast of the Bundy Ranch and where Bundy and his armed supporters faced off with government agents.
A defendant has asked to postpone next week’s trial for seven Bunkerville ranch standoff defendants in the wake of Sunday night’s massacre in Las Vegas.
“This is not the time to pick a jury and commence trial in this case,” attorneys for independent militia leader Ryan Payne wrote in court papers filed late Monday, referring to the shooting that left at least 59 dead and resulted in hundreds of injuries. “It is clear that this unprecedented act of violence will prevent the defendants from having a fair trial in this city one week from now.”
Meanwhile, Pete Santilli, who has argued that he was a journalist covering the confrontation between the Bundy family and law enforcement, has agreed to plead guilty to felony conspiracy, his lawyer Chris Rasmussen told U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro on Tuesday.
Gem County residents Ammon and Lisa Bundy never thought their fight over grazing and water rights for their ranch would be a focus of national attention.
The Bundys see themselves as defenders of the Constitution, standing up for what they believe in. Lisa Bundy said her husband is in federal prison now because he was “defending his neighbors and challenging the federal government over his rights.”
“We are supposed to fight for our rights and fight for our land. This is God-given land, and he has designated us to take care of it,” Lisa Bundy said.
Ammon Bundy, his father and brother are in federal prison awaiting trial on charges stemming from an armed standoff that stopped government agents from rounding up Bundy cattle near Bunkerville, Nevada, in 2014.
In a court filing this week, Bundy’s lawyer, Bret Whipple, made a rather extraordinary argument: that this armed insurrection at the Bundy ranch was no different from the Selma civil rights march in 1965. He also notes that like Bundy, Martin Luther King Jr. “openly violated a federal court injunction.” Far from menacing the BLM officers with what the government calls a “massive assault,” Bundy and his co-conspirators were simply following the “pattern of political demonstrations throughout American history,” says Whipple. He suggests that the BLM was acting an awful lot like George Wallace, the Alabama governor who set the police on the (unarmed) Selma marchers.
In a motion that was filed on Thursday by Chris T. Rasmussen, attorney for reporter Pete Santilli, there was an appeal to Judge Gloria Navarro to enforce the court’s order not to use anything from the Oregon case involving Santilli, in which all the charges against him were dropped.
“Fourteen days before trial, the Government has decided to ignore this Court’s Order (Dk: 1613),” wrote Rasmussen.
“Santilli filed a motion to compel disclosure of discovery from the case in Oregon,” Rasmussen continued. “The government arrogantly announced in their response, ‘The Oregon case is not this case.’”
Rasmussen pointed to the court’s order which states, “Judge Navarro found that “the Oregon case is not relevant… especially given that the activity related to the Malheur occupation began well after the events at issue in this case.’”
What Abraham Bundy and his sons saw from the crest of the ridge where they topped out in June 1916, looking east toward Mt. Trumbull, was a vast valley with stirrup-high grass that year. What they did not account for is that the high annual rainfall that had blessed the Arizona Strip for several decades, making it vast grassland, would not last forever. Although there was not a single source of live water in the entire valley, Bundys staked the future of their families on making a go of it there.
And to a large extent the same basic story likewise describes the people and place LaVoy Finicum came from at Cane Beds, on the Northern edge of The Strip. LaVoy’s historic Tuckup Grazing Allotment along the Northern edge of the Grand Canyon stems back to the earliest history of Texans and Bundys grazing cattle and competing for forage on The Strip, as described in the book.
Las Vegas – Just before the court deadline at 11:03 PM MST on September 28, 2017 Ammon Bundy defense attorney Morgan Philpot filed a formal request for jury instructions in the upcoming criminal trial scheduled to begin Tuesday, October 10 of Bundy. The filing included a request and supporting legal authority that the jury should be instructed that:
“Defendants’ rights to possess and carry firearms are not on trial. Under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, a person has the right “to keep and bear arms,” that is to own, to possess, and to carry firearms, including for the purposes of participating in a citizen militia. Thus, [a] defendant’s possession and use of a firearm and participation in, or association with, militia activity for the purpose of resisting tyranny and usurpations of power by the federal government is protected by the Second Amendment unless that defendant intended his actions to constitute a deliberate act of force, threat or intimidation against an officer of the United States in furtherance of the alleged conspiracy charged in Count two.
Ryan Zinke, the secretary of the Interior Department, said that almost a third of his agency’s employees aren’t exactly President Donald Trump supporters — or fans of the American flag, for that matter.
Holy cow. Why are they still there? Talk about a deep state.
It’s one thing to work in the federal government for people with whom you politically disagree. It’s another thing entirely to work in the federal government of a country you don’t entirely support.
In a different day, a different time, that’d be cause for a red flag followup from U.S. intel agents concerned about government collapse or takeover from communist-aligned enemies, or otherwise anti-American forces.
Frankly, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s memo to President Trump recommending modifications to a few national monuments — including the 300,000-acre Gold Butte National Monument in Clark County — is far too modest, but it has the Democratic contingent of Nevada’s Washington delegation squealing like a pig stuck under a gate.
Zinke recommended unspecified changes to the Gold Butte boundaries but totally ignored the massive 700,000-acre Basin and Range National Monument that straddles the border between Nye and Lincoln counties, even though members of the Congressional Western Caucus recommended reducing it to 2,500 acres — “the smallest area compatible,” as the law says, to protect the Indian petroglyphs there.
The pressure from the elected officials and the public have made a dramatic difference in the Bunkerville Standoff case. Plea deals are being offered for multiple defendants this week.
Rumors abound that the prosecution is acting as if they have been told to “make this case go away”. There have been offers of plea agreements given to several defendants, including Ryan Payne, Pete Santilli, Eric Parker and Scott Drexler. There have been NO reports of any acceptance of offers, but negotiations continue.
Speculation is also running on possible plea agreements for other defendants scheduled for trial later, including Mel and Dave Bundy.
Now is the time to double-down on the letters and phone calls! Keep up the pressure! Let AG Sessions know what a miscarriage of justice this case has become. It is working!
The upcoming Bundy Ranch trial is already setting up as a display of the amount of corruption inside the federal court system.
The latest example of this corruption comes from Prosecutor Steven Myhre, who hasn’t made his case twice and is attempting it a third time on two defendants, which seems so clear to me to be a violation of the Constitution’s Double Jeopardy clause that Myhre should never be allowed to serve the people in any capacity ever again, along with Judge Gloria Navarro, who allowed it.
However, last week, Myhre submitted a twenty-six page request to the judge, which amounted to calling on the judge to suppress the defendants right to defend themselves.
A judge on Wednesday denied Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy’s request to represent himself at trial next month on charges related to a 2014 standoff with the Bureau of Land Management.
Defense attorney Bret Whipple, whom Bundy retained, filed court papers last week in which he asked to withdraw from Bundy’s case.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen asked Bundy a series of questions in order to determine whether he could act as his own lawyer in what is expected to be a lengthy trial with six other defendants.
When Leen asked whether Bundy was ready for the trial, set to begin Oct. 10, he replied, “Well I doubt it.” But he added that he was not asking to postpone the trial.
As the judge inquired further about his understanding of trial procedures, Bundy said, “I understand very little of it, but I reserve my right to do the best I can.”
Leen read through the charges against Bundy, while the acting U.S. Attorney detailed the possible sentences, which could land Bundy in prison for the rest of his life.
Part of the effort to expand access to public lands is reforming the Equal Access to Justice Act, which is addressed in the current legislation. The Equal Access to Justice Act has been widely abused in recent years by radical special interest groups aiming to bury federal and state wildlife and land agencies in anti-lands management lawsuits, and get rich on taxpayer dollars while doing so.
Hunting in its various forms, fishing, and outdoor shooting are not just iconic American pastimes, they are essential to families who depend on the economic benefits these activities yield. Countless rural families depend on big game and fish as affordable sources of protein. And in the West, game and fish quarries are taken primarily from public lands. But it’s not just meat and fish harvested by anglers and game hunters that benefit families and foster self-reliance, it’s the commerce of outfitting and selling hunting leases that keep many ranchers, farmers and property owners afloat in a sea of fickle agricultural and real estate markets.
In memo to Interior employees, deputy secretary makes example of controversial ex-Utah BLM lawman Dan Love, vow to clean up land agencies and protect those who report abuse.
A top Interior Department official has singled out the recent firing of a controversial Bureau of Land Management agent over Utah to illustrate a renewed commitment to hold accountable senior employees who misuse their official positions and to protect those who report such abuse.
Dan Love, who once led law enforcement for the BLM’s Nevada and Utah state offices, was fired not long after an Aug. 24 report from Interior’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) faulting him a second time for official misconduct, according to a memo circulated Friday by Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt.