Opening statements begin Monday in Bunkerville standoff retrial

The first jury for the retrial was nearly all-female, but after extensive arguments between the prosecution and defense last week, U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro restructured the jury to replace three of the women with three men. Minority representation on the jury did not change.

Defense attorneys had rebutted the government’s claims with accusations that prosecutors tried to knock males off the jury. It was not apparent from last week’s arguments what fueled the gender dispute. Both sides had the opportunity to talk to the first jury after the mistrial in April, so it is possible that those conversations revealed patterns among demographic groups.

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Rallies support defendants in Bunkerville standoff case

Hundreds of supporters turned out at a Las Vegas event Saturday night supporting the defendants facing trial in the Bunkerville standoff case.

They gathered at Rainbow Gardens to hear speeches from Las Vegas City Councilwoman Michele Fiore, members of the Bundy family and even Roger Stone, an on-and-off adviser for President Donald Trump.

A trial in the Bunkerville standoff case opens Monday at the Lloyd George U.S. Courthouse, but instead of trying a new set of defendants, prosecutors will begin their second attempt to convict four men accused of conspiring against the government with rancher Cliven Bundy.

The retrial comes after an April mistrial, when jurors deadlocked on 50 of the 60 counts against the first group of defendants in the three-part case. Prosecutors eventually plan to try 17 men on charges stemming from the April 2014 armed standoff between individual rights activists and Bureau of Land Management agents, who came to Bunkerville to seize Bundy’s cattle from public land over unpaid grazing fees.

The overarching theme at Saturday event: The “mainstream media” hasn’t given the Bundy family a voice.

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AG Sessions: ‘I’m not taking sides’ in Bundy case

Meanwhile, Roger Stone — the longtime on-and-off adviser to Trump — is scheduled to speak at a pro-Bundy rally in Las Vegas this weekend to raise money for the rancher’s legal defense fund.

“The Bundy Ranch case hasn’t gotten the proper coverage it deserves and what’s more outrageous is the Govt’s conduct towards 17 men arrested at a Rally in support of the Bundy family,” Stone said in an emailed statement.

The event is scheduled for Saturday evening at the Rainbow Gardens of Las Vegas, is described in a promotional YouTube video as “a benefit for the Patriots who stood up for the natural rights of all Americans currently serving time as political prisoners under the corruption of federal bureaucracies.

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Jury selection crucial in Bunkerville standoff retrial

Another trial in the Bunkerville standoff case opens Monday in Las Vegas, but instead of trying a new set of defendants, prosecutors will launch their second attempt to win convictions against four men accused of conspiring against the government with rancher Cliven Bundy.

The retrial follows a mistrial in April, when jurors deadlocked on 50 of the 60 counts against the first batch of defendants in the three-part case. Prosecutors eventually plan to try 17 men on charges resulting from the April 2014 armed standoff between individual rights activists and Bureau of Land Management agents, who came to Bunkerville to seize Bundy’s cattle from public land.

The hung jury did not come as a surprise to local court observers, who previously have said that the trial against the first group hinged on ideological issues that typically are not litigated inside a courtroom. In a 2 million-population metropolitan area built in the middle of a desert, federal jury pools draw people from rural and urban areas — with different political views, policy priorities and perceptions of law enforcement.

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Interior Secretary Zinke says he’ll tour Nevada national monuments in July

PAHRUMP — Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke didn’t stop at any national monuments during his first official visit to Nevada, but he promised to return for a tour of Gold Butte and Basin and Range before the end of July.

During an event in Pahrump on Monday, Zinke said he wants to see the two Nevada monuments from the ground and talk to stakeholders before he decides whether the designations should be reduced, rescinded or left intact.

He said he doesn’t have any “preconceived ideas” about the two Obama-era monuments, though he indicated that his recent recommendations on Bears Ears National Monument in Utah provide a blueprint for what might happen here.

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Nevada’s Laxalt joins suit to support sanctuary cities order

Laxalt on Friday joined a 10-state coalition of attorneys general in filing the brief in the federal District Court of San Francisco. The brief urges the court to dismiss a California-based challenge to the federal government’s January executive order pertaining to sanctuary cities.

The case is an opportunity to remedy the threat that California’s “sanctuary cities” pose to Nevada safety, Laxalt’s office said.

“Sanctuary cities in California endanger Nevadans, especially given their close proximity to us,” Laxalt said. “In some cases these cities refuse federal requests to temporarily detain illegal aliens with violent criminal histories and instead release these felons into communities that — under federal law — they have no right to be in.

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Feds announce racketeering charges against 23 motorcycle gang members

Federal prosecutors said they smashed the structure of one of the country’s most ruthless criminal organizations with a racketeering indictment against 23 members of the Vagos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang, who were arrested Friday in Nevada, Hawaii and California.

The 12-count indictment, unsealed in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, accuses the bikers of a laundry list of violent crimes committed over the past 12 years. It includes the 2011 murder of a rival Hells Angel gang member at the Sparks Nugget Hotel &Casino — a crime described Friday as part of a broader criminal conspiracy that involved a coordinated cover-up and threats of retaliation against gang members who cooperated with law enforcement.

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Battle brewing over national monuments in Nevada, elsewhere

WASHINGTON — A battle is brewing between activists across the political spectrum over a Trump administration review of recently established national monuments, including Gold Butte in Nevada, and a 1906 law that permits presidential protection of public lands.

In the most recent salvo, 71 environmental and natural resource lawyers sent a letter to the administration saying a White House executive order that authorized the review incorrectly implied that President Donald Trump has the authority to rescind or modify national monuments created by previous presidents.

It does not, the lawyers insisted: “Congress retained that power for itself.”

But conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation and The Sutherland Institute argue Trump has the authority to manage public lands and reduce the size of national monuments, a practice that has occurred several times.

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First prison term imposed in Bunkerville standoff case

A New Hampshire man who, in 2014, gathered his guns and drove across the country to join rancher Cliven Bundy’s armed stand against federal authorities was sentenced Wednesday to 87 months in prison.

Gerald DeLemus, a former Marine sergeant who co-chaired his state’s Veterans for Trump campaign, told the court in a tearful, 10-minute statement that no matter how long a sentence he received, he would do it all over again.

“But I would leave my guns at home,” he said.

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Las Vegas judge faces ethics charges for giving TV interview

District Judge William Kephart has been accused of violating professional ethics codes by giving an on-camera interview last year about a case that was pending before the Nevada Supreme Court.

The case was that of Kirstin Lobato, who in 2006 was convicted of killing and cutting off the penis of Duran Bailey, a 44-year-old homeless man.

Lobato, who is serving a lengthy prison sentence for the brutal 2001 killing, has been fighting for years to overturn her conviction. She has drawn support from state and national criminal justice advocates who say new forensic testing that was unavailable a decade ago could prove her innocence.

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Retrial in Bunkerville standoff case postponed until July

The retrial in the first Bunkerville standoff case is scheduled to open with jury selection July 10.

A mistrial was declared in the case in April, after jurors deadlocked on 50 of the 60 counts against six defendants. Federal prosecutors decided this month to retry four of the men, who are accused of providing the firepower in a mass assault against federal agents. The agents were in Bunkerville to seize rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle after decades of unpaid grazing fees.

Initially, the retrial was scheduled to open June 26. U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro on Thursday postponed the start date due to potential attorney and juror conflicts the week of Independence Day. The defendants who will stand trial are Montana resident Ricky Lovelien and Idaho residents Scott Drexler, Eric Parker and Steven Stewart.

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Latest BLM oil and gas lease auction in central Nevada draws protest

The federal Bureau of Land Management has scheduled a June 13 auction for new oil and gas leases across almost 196,000 acres in central Nevada.

The response from conservationists: Get the frack out of here.

A coalition of environmental groups will file an administrative protest Thursday in hopes of blocking the online auction and any future fossil fuel development, which they say could contaminate land, air and water in Nevada while contributing to global warming.

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Price tag for defense in Bunkerville standoff case tops $1M

Taxpayers already have spent over $1 million to provide legal representation for the 19 men accused of participating in the 2014 armed standoff in Bunkerville.

As of last week, the federal government had paid $1,028,154.30 to defense lawyers, investigators, paralegals and others who have played a role in defending those accused of staging a mass assault on federal agents who, in April 2014, tried to seize rancher Cliven Bundy’s cows from public lands.

The cattle seizure operation was met with pushback by the Bundy family and loosely organized militia groups who traveled from across the West to protest what they viewed as improper federal overreach.

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Review of national monuments prompts BLM to postpone Gold Butte forum

The Bureau of Land Management has postponed an upcoming public forum on Gold Butte National Monument as the Department of Interior conducts a controversial review of it and other monuments.

BLM officials were slated to host the latest in a series of informational forums on Gold Butte on May 25 in North Las Vegas, but they decided to delay the meeting until the broader monument review is complete.

As part of the review process, the Interior Department began accepting public input this week on national monument designations from the past two decades.

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Protests in Pahrump

Protests in Pahrump

Those awaiting trial in the Bunkerville standoff case have been clashing with corrections officers at the private facility in Pahrump where they are being held.

Last week, Ryan Bundy, one of rancher Cliven Bundy’s sons who likewise is charged as a leader, sued the federal government. In his lawsuit, he argued that strip searches were unconstitutional and said he was deprived of his rights when he was punished for failing to submit to them. Ryan Bundy said in the complaint that he has spent weeks in the “hole,” a colloquial term for solitary confinement.

Then, on Wednesday, supporters of the individual rights movement the Bundys espouse showed up to protest outside the Pahrump facility after they learned of an alleged incident involving brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy. Protesters, who have spent three days in Pahrump, claim the Bundys were punished after they argued with an official over a shirt that was left on Ammon Bundy’s bed.

“The jail will not tell me what’s going on without a subpoena,” said Ammon Bundy’s defense attorney, Dan Hill. “I’m definitely going to subpoena to find out what’s going on. He’s presumed innocent, and what they’re putting him through in there is interfering with trial preparation.”

Hill said Ammon Bundy is in solitary confinement, and that he has not spoken to him since the alleged incident occurred.

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Prosecutors struggle to prove conspiracy in Bundy cases

Twelve unsure people

The verdict form in the first Bunkerville standoff trial suggested confusion and indecision among jurors on the two conspiracy charges.

Jurors marked “not guilty” on the first two conspiracy counts, and then subsequently crossed out the check marks before submitting the verdict form to the court. U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro declared a mistrial in the case on Monday, after jurors deadlocked on 50 of the 60 counts against the six men on trial.

Jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict against any of the men on the first two conspiracy charges, but they convicted Arizona resident Gregory Burleson of eight other counts and Idaho resident Todd Engel of two. The jury hung on all 10 counts against the four other defendants.

The conspiracy charges represented the central dispute of the trial. During deliberations, jurors asked the judge multiple times to clarify her legal instructions on those two charges.

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Ryan Bundy sues federal government

By Jenny Wilson Las Vegas Review-Journal April 25, 2017 – 5:12 pm Ryan Bundy, a son of embattled rancher Cliven Bundy who is incarcerated pending trial on conspiracy charges, has sued the federal government. In a lawsuit filed Monday in […]

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Questions remain after mistrial in Bunkerville standoff case

One question is hanging over the federal courthouse in the wake of Monday’s mistrial: What happens next? Federal prosecutors still have not decided whether to retry the defendants. Taxpayers already have been saddled with significant costs, which only will balloon in a repeat trial. And the remaining 11 defendants who have been in prison for over a year do not want to wait any longer for their day in court.

That is why some defense attorneys who represent the second group of defendants, charged as “leaders” of the armed protests in Bunkerville, are hoping that if prosecutors decide to retry any or all of the men in the first group, they will do so by combining them with the second group.

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Judge declares mistrial in Bundy Ranch standoff case

A federal judge declared a mistrial Monday in the first Bunkerville standoff case, which targeted six men accused of conspiring with rancher Cliven Bundy to derail a court-ordered cattle seizure in 2014.

The mistrial — an anticlimactic end to a highly anticipated trial — was declared hours after the jury convicted two men of some of the 10 counts in the superseding indictment.

In returning the guilty verdicts, which still stand, jurors informed the court they were “hopelessly deadlocked” on the remaining counts and defendants. U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro sent them back to the deliberation room in a last-ditch effort to encourage them to reach a more complete verdict.

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No verdict after second day of deliberations in Bunkerville standoff trial

Jurors in the first Bunkerville standoff trial finished their second day of deliberations Monday without reaching a verdict.

The jury received the case Thursday, after hearing two months of testimony in the trial of six people charged as “gunmen” in the April 2014 armed standoff near Cliven Bundy’s ranch. The men are accused of conspiring with Bundy to stop federal agents from seizing his cattle from public land.

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Nevada investigation targets alleged voter fraud in 2016 election

CARSON CITY — Nevada’s top election official on Friday opened an investigation into alleged voter fraud in last year’s election, saying her office has uncovered evidence that non-citizens had cast ballots.

“Based on new information we have recently uncovered, we have initiated an investigation into illegal votes cast in the last general election,” Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske told the Review-Journal late Friday.

“Our office has been clear; we will investigate any allegation of election law violations that may jeopardize the integrity of Nevada’s voting process.”

Her office Friday sent a letter to the head of the Department of Motor Vehicles about voter registration forms issued by the DMV.

“It has come to our attention that when offering voter registration opportunities to customers, DMV’s employees offer voter registration materials to DMV customers whom they know to be non-citizens based on their presentation of a Green Card for identification purposes,” Cegavske wrote in a letter to DMV Director Terri Albertson.

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Lawyers give closing arguments in 1st Bunkerville standoff trial

A federal prosecutor on Wednesday characterized six Bunkerville protesters as militiamen who heeded rancher Cliven Bundy’s call to arms, while defense attorneys used closing arguments to portray the men as peaceful demonstrators who asserted their constitutional rights.
After six hours of impassioned arguments in a full-to-capacity Las Vegas courtroom, the first of three conspiracy trials resulting from the 2014 standoff in Bunkerville still had not been sent to the jury. Several more lawyers are scheduled to give their closing arguments when court resumes Thursday.

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Prosecutors request start date of June 5 for second Bunkerville standoff trial

Federal prosecutors have asked for a start date of June 5 or later in the trial against cattle rancher Cliven Bundy and four other men accused of leading an armed assault on law enforcement officers in 2014.

Closing arguments are expected this week in the trial against the first six defendants charged in the armed standoff in Bunkerville, which occurred after Bureau of Land Management agents tried to carry out an operation to impound Bundy’s cattle from public lands. The trial against the second group of defendants, whom prosecutors have identified as the “leaders” of the standoff, was originally scheduled to open 30 days after the verdict in the first trial.

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Las Vegas resort & casino pilots new security threat detection device

Ontario, Canada’s Patriot One Technologies debuted the NForce CMR1000 this week at the International Security Conference & Exposition, called ISC West. The Security Industry Association awarded the device the top honor in the anti-terrorism category in the conference’s new product showcase.

Here’s why: The device, hidden under floor boards or behind wall panels, uses radar technology to alert security personnel to the presence of a concealed weapon, according to the company. It will pick up on the shape and metal composition of a concealed item and send an alert to a computer or cellphone: There’s an 84 percent chance this individual has a gun. Or perhaps a knife or a pressure cooker that could be an improvised explosive.

The alert would come with a surveillance image of the subject. The radar sweep can also pick up some plastics and ceramics.

Dinesh Kandanchatha, Patriot One Technologies’ president and chief technology officer, demonstrated the device for the Las Vegas Review-Journal at the Westgate Las Vegas on Thursday.

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