Refuge occupier’s sounding of shofar becomes subject of disputed testimony

What was the meaning of occupier Brand Thornton’s blowing of the shofar when he accompanied the first convoy of men who seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Jan. 2, 2016?

One prosecution witness said the sounding of the ram’s horn meant an “all clear” signal after protesters went building to building, armed with rifles, to check if anybody was on the federal property. Another prosecution witness called it a symbol of battle.

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OPB broadcast interview with Ryan Bundy will be played for jurors, judge rules

Prosecutors can play an excerpt from an Oregon Public Broadcasting interview with Ryan Bundy for jurors in the second Oregon standoff trial, but it won’t include reporter John Sepulvado’s commentary, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown made the decision over the strong objections of defense lawyers.

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Idaho woman issued federal citation for not standing for jury in refuge takeover trial

Iva Henderson, at age 59, had never been on an airplane before she was subpoenaed to testify in federal court in Portland this week.

Henderson and her husband, Rich Henderson, live a small rural community near Riggins, Idaho, population 600. Both had spent two nights at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge last winter. They said they’d gone there to protest what they viewed as the unjust federal prosecution of two Harney County ranchers for setting fire to public land.

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Court rules Hage family must pay $587K for grazing cattle on federal land in Nevada

CARSON CITY — A U.S. District Court judge has ordered a Nevada ranching family engaged in a long-running dispute with federal agencies to pay $587,000 for grazing cattle on BLM and Forest Service lands without permission.

The order dated Feb. 27 from Gloria Navarro, chief judge of the Las Vegas District Court, also requires the son of the late Wayne Hage to remove any livestock from federal lands within 30 days. Within 45 days the Hage has to file a statement of compliance with the order or face contempt of court.

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Refuge visitors, character witnesses testify for defense in refuge takeover trial

Montana resident Roxsanna Ryan, who home schooled her 12 children, said she wasn’t surprised when her middle child Jake Ryan, 28, chose to stay at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge last winter when he accompanied his father and brothers on a drive from their home to deliver community-donated goods to the occupiers in Oregon.

She said the next time she heard from Jake Ryan was the night of Jan. 26, 2016, in a “goodbye” call, his voice shaking and in fear following the police fatal shooting of occupation spokesman Robert “LaVoy” Finicum.

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Defense seeks arrest warrant for suspected FBI informant to testify in refuge takeover case

Defense lawyers have urged a federal judge to issue an arrest warrant for William R. Kullman, a man they suspect was an FBI informant who played a role in security and defense training during the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Attorney Jesse Merrithew said Kullman, who lives in northern Washington, was served last month with a subpoena to testify in the second Oregon standoff trial but failed to show for court. The federal government also has indicated it won’t assist in compelling Kullman’s testimony, Merrithew noted in a court filing.

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BLM ranger testifies that he turned off body cam as Bunkerville standoff escalated

As the 2014 standoff in Bunkerville escalated and authorities started to fear a gunfight, Bureau of Land Management Ranger Patrick Apley turned off his body camera.

“I was mad,” Apley testified Tuesday in the trial against six men accused of conspiring with rancher Cliven Bundy to block federal authorities from seizing cattle. “I felt like we were going to be in a firefight, and I really didn’t want to record that.”

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Ammon Bundy returns to federal courtroom in Portland as a defense witness

Prosecutors spent twice as long cross-examining Ammon Bundy when he returned to a Portland courtroom Tuesday compared to last fall during his own trial that ended with his acquittal on conspiracy and weapons charges.

This time, Bundy was the first witness for the defense of four men who say they were inspired by his videos and calls to take a “hard stand in Burns” and now face trial themselves in the 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

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Prosecutors changed strategy in second Oregon occupation trial

As the federal government rested its case Tuesday morning after just over five days of testimony in the second Oregon standoff trial, it was clear prosecutors had listened to Juror 4 from the first trial.

From opening statements through their questioning of witnesses, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Geoffrey Barrow and Ethan Knight repeatedly focused on trying to show how the actions of the four defendants now on trial revealed their intent to prevent federal wildlife refuge workers from doing their jobs through intimidation, threat or force.

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Blaine Cooper becomes 1st occupier to testify for government in refuge takeover trial

Ammon Bundy called a clandestine meeting around the dining room of their host’s home in Burns on Dec. 29, 2015, and directed the six other men there to leave their cellphones and laptops behind in a separate room.

Bundy then discussed his idea of taking over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, said occupier Blaine Cooper, called as a government witness on the fifth day of the second Oregon standoff trial.

Cooper’s testimony about the dining-room sit-down marked the first time anyone in court has referenced a late December meeting between Bundy and the other men about seizing the refuge before the Jan. 2, 2016, occupation.

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About 22 FBI agents walked onto Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in middle of night Jan. 29, 2016

Under the cover of darkness, about 22 FBI agents surreptitiously walked onto the Mahleur National Wildlife Refuge, entering from the east, three days after the arrests of the occupation leaders and the fatal police shooting of occupation spokesman Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, according to testimony Monday.

“We went in on Jan. 29 (2016) and remained there at least a 24-hour period,” FBI agent Kevin Murray testified for the government on the fifth day of the second Oregon standoff trial.

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First trial in Bunkerville standoff case presents paradox

By JENNY WILSON LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL Cliven Bundy’s armed stand against the federal government has landed him in a prison cell, but some of the rancher’s positions on public lands could be enacted into federal law in the new political […]

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DML To Testify In Bundy Trial Next Week (video)

DML received a subpoena from the U.S. District Attorney in Nevada months ago. He was forced to turn over his video footage, and he will be called to testify in the trial next week.

DML’s account of what took place that day can be seen below in the interview he held with Megyn Kelly.

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Our Oath of Office, A Solemn Promise, By Jonathan L. Rudd, J.D.

I [name] do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

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Oregonian – Judge quashes subpoena of former OPB reporter in refuge occupation trial

In between a display of firearms to jurors in the second Oregon standoff trial, a debate about journalistic privilege took center stage in a federal courtroom Friday and drew a larger crowd of spectators than usual.

U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown granted Oregon Public Broadcasting’s motion to quash a subpoena for former reporter John Sepulvado to testify and authenticate his January 2016 recorded interview with Ryan Bundy during the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

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Video shows chaos as refuge occupiers debate whether to leave after LaVoy Finicum died

A remarkable video shot in the darkened bunkhouse kitchen of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge reveals the chaos and anger that erupted after the arrests of occupation leaders and the fatal shooting of the armed takeover’s spokesman.

Defendant Jason Patrick, who went by the code name “Clooney,” radioed to security teams to come to the bunkhouse for a vote the night of Jan. 26, 2016. He stood in the kitchen in the middle of a group gathered around him, wearing his trademark blue blazer and holding a lit cigarette in his hand.

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Oregon standoff defendant Darryl Thorn planned to sneak back onto refuge, agent says

An FBI agent on Thursday showed jurors a slew of photos and messages that he found on defendant Darryl Thorn’s Facebook page, including Thorn’s stated plan of “sneaking back ” onto the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge a year ago.

Thorn, a member of Washington’s 3 percent militia, proclaimed in a Feb. 4, 2016, private Facebook message: “I won’t let my brothers and sisters die by themselves.”

He talked of his plan to go back to the refuge, saying, “I have a good lay out of the land.”

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Feds authorized some FBI informants to engage in unlawful activity at refuge

Over the objection of a prosecutor, a defense lawyer Wednesday asked Oregon’s recently retired top FBI agent about his reaction to the jury verdict from the first trial stemming from the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

“You do not believe the participants that went to trial in the fall of 2016 were held accountable, that’s correct?” asked Michele Kohler, representing defendant Duane Ehmer.

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Gary Hunt – Freedom of the Press #9 “Prior Restraint”

In the previous article, though suggested in the government’s Supplemental Memorandum in Support of Government’s Motion For an Order to Show Cause, of February 7, 2017, it really didn’t get to the heart of “Prior Restraint”. So, let’s get to the heart of that matter.

Let’s start with the law that explains the potential severity of publication of certain information, in a case similar to what the government and Judge Anna J. Brown are attempting to construct against me. Section 793 (e) of the Espionage Act was cited as the authority by which the government attempted to impose “Prior Restraint” on the New York Times for publishing what was known as the “Pentagon Papers”. The Papers had been leaked to the press by a government employee who had signed a non-disclosure agreement (not just based upon a Protective Order), which precluded that employee from divulging any information protected by Section, 793 (e):

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OPB moves to quash federal subpoena of former reporter John Sepulvado

A lawyer for former Oregon Public Broadcasting reporter John Sepulvado has filed a motion to quash the government’s subpoena that calls on Sepulvado to testify and authenticate his January 2016 recorded interview of Ryan Bundy during the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Attorney Duane A. Bosworth, representing Oregon Public Broadcasting and Sepulvado, argues that the compelled testimony will “chill future sources, even nonconfidential ones” for Sepulvado and all other OPB reporters.

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Oregon’s retired top FBI agent testified why he didn’t send agents to ‘assault the refuge’

FBI agents kept away from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for weeks based on what they knew about occupation leader Ammon Bundy and his armed supporters and Bundy’s pledge to take a “hard stand” and turn the property into a base for patriots for years, according to testimony Tuesday from the man who led the police response.

“For us to go in there, we believe would provoke a confrontation,” said Greg Bretzing, who just retired as Oregon’s FBI special agent in charge.

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Gary Hunt – Freedom of the Press #8 – “Qualified Press Privilege”

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
February 21, 2017
In Freedom of the Press #6 – “Tilting at Windmills” – Redux, I address the jurisdictional issue that the government addressed in their Supplemental Memorandum in Support of Government’s Motion For an Order to Show Cause, of February 7, 2017. Due to the length of the Supplement, and the length of #6, I chose to address two remaining issues in a subsequent post. Those two issues, Prior Restraint and Qualified Press, will be addressed in that order.

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Prosecutor: No formal agreement to conspire in refuge takeover, but a ‘meeting of the minds’

A federal prosecutor Tuesday told jurors they won’t hear evidence of a formal meeting, written contract or verbal agreement between the defendants on trial, charged with conspiring to impede federal employees from carrying out their work at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Instead, they’ll be able to infer through the words and actions of defendants Jason Patrick, Duane Ehmer, Jake Ryan and Darryl Thorn, that they used the federal property as their own last winter as a “platform for their cause,” essentially keeping staff from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or Bureau of Land Management from coming to work.

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Jury of 12 plus four alternates selected for second Oregon standoff trial

A jury of seven women and five men, plus four alternates, will return to court next week for opening statements in the trial of four remaining defendants in the occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys picked them after U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown spent a day and a half of questioning about 58 prospective jurors out of an original pool of 1,000 people from across the state.

The judge referred to the jurors only by number in court and rarely identified the person’s hometown or type of work.

Most of the jurors are from outside of Multnomah County and come from outlying areas in western Oregon, including coastal communities, a defense lawyer said. A couple are from Multnomah County and at least one from central Oregon.

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