Social Media: The Government’s Friend
The US Attorney’s filed the Government’s Exhibit List (ECF No. 1423). While it comes as no surprise that Social Media is present in the list, the volume of evidence that is from social media platforms is staggering. Specifically, well over one third of the evidence in trial will come from Facebook and YouTube.
In addition to Facebook posts and chats, as well as YouTube videos, the Government intends to submit email conversations as well as material obtained from or related to relatives of co-defendants. Most notably, the jury will see as evidence statements made by Carol Bundy, wife of Rancher Cliven Bundy. It is evident that the internet is a medium easily accessible to the Government for use in furtherance of their overbearing prosecution of individuals whose only “crime” is resistance to lawless bureaucracies that exist to subjugate liberty-minded citizens to tyrannical land management policies that exist to further the agendas of special interests in Washington D.C.
The Government and Defendants submitted proposed jury instructions. Some of the material is common among all criminal cases, for example: what is or isn’t evidence, reasonable doubt, expert witness testimony, etc. Defendants in the case submitted supplemental jury instructions that include:
- The role of “mere presence” in a conspiracy
- Clear instructions regarding what constitutes self-defense
- Justification for actions based on a preponderance (more probable than not)
- The necessary burden of proof to convict for assault
- Text of the First and Second Amendments
- Definitions of intent and motive
It is not yet clear whether or not the Government will oppose any of these instructions or if the Court will block them. Consequently, it is unclear as to how the jury will weigh the evidence they do see.
Government’s Exhibit List
The Government petitioned the Court to block certain evidence and testimony. The essence of this motion included the fear that certain evidence would lead a jury to nullify charges. Specifically, they sought to block references to militarized agents, mistreatment of cattle, and publicized opinions of elected officials. It would appear that the Government sees no need to restrict its own presentation of evidence to the same or a similar standard.