FBI agent Astarita Trial Update Summary : 8-1-2018

#theOregon -> State police officer who fatally shot LaVoy Finicum outed by slip-up in court
For 2 1/2 years, Oregon State Police successfully concealed the names of the two SWAT officers who fatally shot Robert “LaVoy” Finicum as authorities arrested leaders of the armed takeover of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
But that ended this week when one of the names slipped out in court….

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COURT DOCS: SPLC Co-Founder Accused of Trying to Molest Step-Daughter With Sex Toy

According to court testimony, among other perverted sexual behavior, Dees attempted to molest his 18-year-old step-daughter with a sex toy. Holly Buck was Maureene Dees’ daughter from a previous marriage.

“Holly testified that, in the summer of 1977, Morris attempted to molest her in the following incident: One night Maureene and Morris were sitting drinking wine and discussing a case Morris was trying,” the brief says. “[Holly] was with them. Around eleven or twelve o’clock, Maureene went to bed and Holly stayed up with Morris discussing the case. Morris kept offering Holly wine, some of which she accepted.”

Holly testified that she declined, choosing to go to bed instead.

“She went to her room and then went into the bathroom,” the document says. “Looking out the window, she saw Morris in the bushes beside the bathroom window looking in. She said ‘Morris, is that you’, but he said nothing and ran away.”

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Judge throws out 2 of 5 charges against indicted FBI agent one week before trial

A federal judge Monday threw out two of the five charges against an FBI agent accused of covering up that he fired two rifle shots at the truck of Oregon refuge occupation spokesman Robert “LaVoy” Finicum at a roadblock in January 2016.

U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones struck one count of making a false statement and one count of obstruction of justice against W. Joseph Astarita.

The agent still faces three charges a week before his trial is scheduled to start: two other counts of making a false statement and one other count of obstruction of justice.

The disputed gunshots came as Finicum emerged from his pickup as police moved in to arrest the leaders of the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Oregon.

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In his first wide-ranging interview, Dwight Hammond Jr, shares his thoughts

BURNS — Three-and-a-half hours after pardoned Oregon rancher Dwight Hammond Jr. arrived home, he gathered with his wife and sons around his dining room’s large circular table and got back to business.

They hooked him into a live feed of an auction in Nevada where Hammond Ranch Inc.’s 155 calves were on the block.

Hammond could have called in to participate in the annual sale but he held back, not wanting to jerk the reins from his daughter-in-law and others who have run the family’s cattle ranch while he and his son Steven served arson sentences in federal prison.

“We’ve had to trust them. No use to question their judgment now,” the 76-year-old said later, sitting in his living room, back in his trademark Wrangler jeans, brown cowboy boots and a blue button-down shirt that matched his eyes.

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Charlottesville32 Settlement and Public Statement – George Curbelo

As the New York Light Foot Militia State Commander, I am speaking officially on behalf of myself, George Curbelo – State Commander of the New York Light Foot Militia, Christian Yingling – State Commander of the Pennsylvania Light Foot Militia, Gary Sigler – State Commander of the Maryland III% People’s Militia, and the 29 other members of the 32, under the Command of the Christian Yingling and myself on August 12th 2017, who were at the unite the right rally in Charlottesville Virginia. On May 16th of 2018 we entered into a Consent Decree with the City of Charlottesville, settling the lawsuit against the above mentioned defendants. We have kept the 29 unnamed members of the 32 anonymous despite requests from the plaintiffs, the public and they will remain nameless. The 32 that stood on Market street, now known as the Charlottesville32 (C32),  remain blameless. The C32 maintained a measurable amount of peace on the 12th, were well-disciplined in a very hostile environment until they were overwhelmed, assaulted, and could only administer medical assistance to the wounded among the general public and themselves. This settlement conclusively resolves, and is final with respects to, all claims arising out of the event on August 12th 2017 between the parties. Yingling, Sigler, and myself, all felt that this settlement answered our need to protect the Charlottesville32 from any further action.

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Court papers: One state trooper thought other trooper fired disputed shot at Finicum’s truck

An Oregon state police trooper at the scene of the Jan. 26, 2016 shooting of refuge occupation spokesman Robert “LaVoy” Finicum told investigators that he believed another state police officer fired the shot that struck the roof of Finicum’ struck, and not an FBI agent, according to court records filed Thursday.

Yet prosecutors are asking a judge to prevent the trooper from sharing his opinion at the trial of indicted FBI Agent W. Joseph Astarita, arguing that it’s not supported by facts and based largely on speculation.

Astarita is accused of denying that he fired two shots as Finicum emerged from his pickup truck at the police roadblock on the day the FBI and state police moved in to arrest leaders of the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. One shot hit the roof of Finicum’s truck and a second missed entirely, investigators said.

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Calling to the Jurors in the Bunkerville Standoff Trial to view the hidden evidence in the case

Ammon Bundy has called to the jurors of the Bunkerville Trial to view the hidden evidence in the case.

It has been well documented that the prosecution team, led by Steven Myhre, kept vital information from the jurors, as well as Judge Navarro.

Navarro, in December 2017, declared a mistrial in the case against Cliven Bundy, Ryan Bundy, Ammon Bundy and Ryan Payne. She specifically cited several instances of “Brady violations” from the prosecution, evidence that was not turned over to the defense which could have benefited their case.

An example of the hidden information is the knowledge of government snipers overlooking the Bundy house during the days and weeks leading up to the Bunkerville standoff in 2014.

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Lawyers for indicted FBI agent suggest a state trooper may have fired shots in question

Lawyers for an indicted FBI agent suggest in court papers that one of the state troopers who shot and killed Oregon refuge occupation spokesman Robert “LaVoy” Finicum may have fired  the two earlier shots at Finicum as he emerged from his truck at a police roadblock.

The trooper, a member of the state police SWAT team identified in court papers only as “Officer 1,” was involved in at least two unrelated fatal shootings of civilians before the Finicum encounter, according to lawyers for FBI agent W. Joseph Astarita.

The government has refused to provide documents to the defense about those past shootings despite repeated requests, the agent’s lawyers said. Astarita’s lawyers are now asking a judge to compel the prosecution team to release the material.

“Such evidence could potentially reveal a pattern of behavior that might shed light on what Officer 1 did on January 26, 2016, and why he may not have been truthful about that conduct in the days and weeks that followed,” defense lawyer Tyler Francis wrote in a motion filed this week in U.S. District Court in Portland.

The motion reveals a theory of Astarita’s defense lawyers intended to cast doubt on the prosecution’s contention that the FBI agent fired at Finicum and then lied about it. One of the bullets hit the roof of Finicum’s truck and the other went astray.

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Oregon refuge occupier Blaine Cooper sentenced, last of 18 convicted in armed takeover

But the judge didn’t budge. A package of material about Cooper that his lawyer submitted to the court under seal “warrants concern,” Brown said.

The judge noted that she had received an email that morning with audio attached that purportedly contained “death threats” Cooper made while in custody in Nevada. Brown said she didn’t listen to the audio, was advised not to open it and considered it hearsay.

The judge said she was aware that during the case there was a “lot of bluster coming out of Mr. Cooper, making outlandish statements.”

Shipsey said she didn’t listen to the audio either, but didn’t receive any complaints during Cooper’s custody in Nevada and listened to his recorded jail calls.

After the sentencing, former Bundy supporter Melissa Laughter, who has been an outspoken critic of the defendants, said she sent the email to the judge, suggesting Cooper receive more time behind bars. She provided a copy of the audio and email to The Oregonian/OregonLive.

Laughter said she got the audio from a 2016 Facebook post from a Bundy supporter.

The recorded jail call starts out with Cooper issuing a disclaimer that nothing he says should be considered a threat but that he’s simply “venting animosity and discontent” after learning that Mark McConnell was a government informant. McConnell was driving the Jeep with Ammon Bundy inside when Bundy was arrested.

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Prosecutors to recommend Oregon refuge occupier Blaine Cooper be sentenced to time served

Prosecutors will recommend a sentence of time served, plus three years of supervised release and that Cooper pay $7,000 in restitution, according to court documents.

The government will ask that Cooper, 38, participate in a mental health program as a condition of his release, but Cooper’s lawyer objects to that requirement.

Cooper, who pled guilty in the Oregon case in June 2016 and became a government witness at a trial against refuge occupiers Jason Patrick, Darryl Thorn and two other co-defendants in 2017, has been on pretrial release since October 2017.

“During that time he participated in a mental health assessment, and it was determined that he was not in need of any further treatment,” his attorney Krista Shipsey wrote in a sentencing memo filed this week.

Cooper has acknowledged that he agreed to cooperate with the government in the hope of reducing an earlier, recommended six-year prison sentence.  He also pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy in the Nevada case.

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Ruling expected in 2 weeks on forensic experts in case of indicted FBI agent

Defense lawyers argued Friday that the government’s reconstruction of an FBI agent’s alleged shots at Oregon occupation spokesman Robert “LaVoy” Finicum isn’t based on sound forensic methods.

“They come in and present this evidence as if it’s precise. It’s just not so,” said Robert Cary, a well-known Washington, D.C.-based defense lawyer for indicted agent W. Joseph Astarita. “It’s presented as science and it’s way dangerous.”

Prosecutors countered that they relied on multiple experts who used independent state-of-the-art forensic methods and all placed Astarita as the only one who could have fired the shot that struck the roof of Finicum’s truck on Jan. 26, 2016.

 The closing arguments came after four days of testimony in a pretrial hearing to determine which experts’ work can be presented at Astarita’s July 24 trial. U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones said he’d issue a written ruling in two weeks.

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Sovereign “Judge” Bruce Doucette Sentenced to 38 Years in Prison

One of the most notable figures in America proselytizing and exercising “sovereign” ideology, Bruce Doucette, was sentenced to 38 years in Colorado state prison on Tuesday, May 22.

Doucette, who owned a computer-repair shop in Littleton, had declared himself a judge despite not being recognized by any U.S. judicial system, and was one of the leading actors in an extra-legal organization calling itself the “people’s grand jury of Colorado.” On March 9, a jury in Denver had found Doucette guilty of 34 felony charges stemming from actions that Doucette described as an attempt to root out corruption in American government at its various levels: federal, state and local.

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Free speech does require one to provide someone else a soapbox [THOMAS MITCHELL]

The First Amendment prohibits the federal government abridging one’s free speech, but it does not, as a federal judge has ruled, require anyone to provide the soapbox for that speech.

U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald of New York ruled today President Donald Trump may not block Twitter users who criticize him because that violates their right to free speech.

“While we must recognize, and are sensitive to, the president’s personal First Amendment rights, he cannot exercise those rights in a way that infringes the corresponding First Amendment rights of those who have criticized him,” the judge said.

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BLM plans law enforcement shakeup

The Bureau of Land Management revealed today it is contemplating an overhaul of its law enforcement program — from the location of its headquarters to whether rangers should wear visible flak jackets.

Deputy Director Brian Steed discussed the pending modifications in testimony before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests and Mining.

“We’re quite active right now in reviewing all policies regarding our law enforcement,” Steed told Utah Sen. Mike Lee (R). An outspoken critic of BLM law enforcement, Lee has endorsed dissolving the agency’s police force and instead relying on local officers or FBI agents.

Steed provided few details about the potential reorganization — which comes as Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is contemplating a broader overhaul of the entire department, as well as a potential relocation of BLM headquarters to a Western state.

Steed testified that BLM officials are evaluating whether the agency’s law enforcement “should be restructured to better fit organizational needs.”

“We absolutely are trying to increase our accountability to the American people by having the right personnel at the helms. We’re absolutely trying to change policy to make sure that we’re as accountable and responsive and as good at our job as possible,” Steed said at the hearing.

He noted that BLM has directed its officers to focus on “casework with direct ties to public lands,” including cross-border smuggling activities and the theft of mineral materials and historical objects.

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The Botched Cliven Bundy Case Was Just The Latest Example Of Prosecutorial Misconduct In Las Vegas

DISMISSAL IS CONSIDERED an extreme remedy for prosecutor misconduct. Judges often declare a mistrial but let the indictments stand, thus allowing prosecutors the option of taking the case before another grand jury.

As Myhre noted in his brief, the Chapman case seems to be the only ruling in which the 9th Circuit has ever upheld outright dismissal of indictments due to prosecutorial misconduct. And Navarro found plenty of similarities when comparing Damm’s misconduct in Chapman to Myhre’s actions in the Bundy trial.

As in Chapman, Myhre and his office failed to turn over hundreds of pages of evidence, particularly FBI reports, logs, maps, and threat assessments, Navarro found. And, like Damm, Myhre and his office made “several misrepresentations” to the defense and the court, both about the existence of certain evidence and its importance, she ruled.

In one instance, Navarro said, the prosecution made “a deliberate attempt to mislead and to obscure the truth.” At the mistrial hearing in December, she criticized Myhre for calling an internal affairs report about one of the Bundy investigators an “urban legend.” When the report surfaced, Myhre told the court his “urban legend” comment was “based on the government’s inability to verify its existence, let alone find it,” and not an attempt to deceive.

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Embattled federal prosecutor Steven Myhre in Nevada takes a step down

After a stormy year, the long tenure of Steven Myhre as the No. 2 prosecutor in the Nevada U.S. attorney’s office has ended under secrecy.

Within the past month, Myhre left his job as first assistant to Interim U.S. Attorney Dayle Elieson and took on new duties in the office as a senior litigation counsel, several former federal prosecutors who have spoken with office members told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

His new position comes with no supervisory responsibilities, but allows him to mentor and train younger attorneys, according to a Justice Department manual.

Last May, Myhre, who spent about 15 years as first assistant in the office, was ordered to undergo anti-sex discrimination training as a result of a federal case filed by a female prosecutor during the tenure of former U.S. Attorney Greg Brower in 2008 and 2009.

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