LAS VEGAS (AP) — A federal judge has agreed to postpone the trial of Nevada cattleman Cliven Bundy and others in a 2014 armed standoff because of the Las Vegas mass shooting.
Defense attorneys argued that the attack would cast a shadow over the trial, which was set to start Tuesday in Las Vegas. On Friday, the judge rescheduled it for Oct. 30.
Bundy, two sons and others are accused of conspiring to enlist a self-styled militia to prevent U.S. Bureau of Land Management agents and civilian employees from removing Bundy’s cattle from federal land in Nevada.
Defendant In Nevada Standoff Case Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy To Impede Or Injure A Federal Officer
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – A defendant charged in the case involving the armed standoff in Bunkerville, Nev. pleaded guilty today in federal court, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Steven W. Myhre for the District of Nevada, Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse for the FBI’s Las Vegas Division, and Acting Director Michael D. Nedd for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
Peter T. Santilli Jr, 52, of Cincinnati, Ohio, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to impede or injure a federal officer. United States District Chief Judge Gloria M. Navarro accepted the guilty plea. Sentencing is set for Jan. 11, 2018. At the time of sentencing, Santilli faces up to six years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Wyoming-based property rights attorney Karen Budd-Falen yesterday acknowledged she is under consideration to become the next director of the Bureau of Land Management but said she has yet to determine if she would want to take the helm of the agency she has clashed with throughout her career.
Budd-Falen, who spoke with E&E News from her Cheyenne, Wyo., law office, said she has spoken with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke about the post, although she does not know when the Trump administration will select a nominee.
A spokesman for the Interior Department said this week he did not have any information on potential nominees or the selection process.
But while Budd-Falen, who served on the Trump administration’s transition team at Interior, acknowledged that she is interested in leading the agency, she added that she is torn about potentially leaving her home state.
An unusual ripple effect of the mass shooting that left 58 people dead and hundreds wounded along the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday is that it could have implications for a high-profile federal trial that is set to begin here next week — a case that also involves weapons.
A Montana militiaman who is accused of weapons charges and conspiring against the U.S. government asked a federal judge this week to delay his trial by 60 days because of the Las Vegas shooting. The charges against Ryan Payne stem from the 2014 Bundy ranch standoff in Bunkerville, Nev., and the trial is slated to start with jury selection Oct. 12.
On Thursday, Payne’s attorneys filed an additional motion, seeking to move the trial out of Las Vegas and to a different venue nearly 450 miles away: the federal courthouse in Reno, Nev. They argued that it would be impossible to seat a fair jury in light of the gun-related massacre.
Ryan Bundy is fighting a new fight in the ongoing saga of the Bunkerville Trials in Las Vegas.
Bundy has been incarcerated since Jan 26, 2016 and has yet to go to trial. He has been fighting for his Constitutionally-guaranteed rights for nearly 2 years.
On Tuesday Ryan, and his brother Ammon, did not attend the scheduled court proceedings as they had not been transported from the Pahrump prison.
This is where it gets confusing for the average person.
A motion has been filed in the Bunkerville Standoff case to have Judge Gloria Navarro recused. The motion was filed by Ryan Bundy on Oct. 4th.
The basis for the demand for recusal is the public perception of her bias towards the prosecution and against the defendants.
The 25 page filing with attachments cites dozens of news articles pointing to her obvious bias. Citing articles from Redoubt News, Infowars, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Freedom Outpost, as well as a multitude of additional articles, as well as video reports, the motion proves overwhelming bias on the part of the judge.
On the afternoon of October 4, President Trump’s Budget Director, Mick Mulvaney, announced the Administration would work with Congress to fund $577 million in supplemental wildfire disaster relief. The announcement came shortly after 32 members of the Congressional Western Caucus submitted a letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), calling for a swift response to the nation’s wildfire crisis. With the approval for funding also came a request from the Trump Administration for quick Forest Service management and budgeting reforms to correct the failed policies which have resulted, in part, in this year’s devastating wildfires.
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.
During the October 3rd Calendar call for the Bunkerville Protest trial, defendant Ryan Payne asked for, and was granted, an evidentiary hearing surrounding the shredding of documents pertaining to the Gold Butte Impoundment Operation.
As part of the hearing, Payne has requested to subpoena several witnesses, including Special Agent in Charge Daniel P. Love.
During the previous trials, Judge Gloria Navarro has upheld the government’s hiding of the discredited SAC Love and refused to allow him to be called in her courtroom. However, an evidentiary hearing is a bit different, specifically in that the jury will not be witnessing the testimony.
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.