What happened with the Bundy stand-off?
The Nevada ranchers face charges of assault and obstruction, after entering into a confrontation with federal agents over grazing rights on their land; William La Jeunesse reports for ‘Special Report.’
A federal judge declared a mistrial Wednesday in the Nevada case against Cliven Bundy, his two sons and another man accused of leading a 2014 armed confrontation with federal agents during a cattle grazing dispute.
Chief U. S. District Judge Gloria Navarro in Las Vegas dismissed a jury seated in the last month before the long-awaited trial of Bundy, his sons, Ryan and Ammon Bundy and self-styled Montana militia leader Ryan Payne.
The decision is the latest in a series of failed prosecutions in Nevada and Oregon against those who oppose federal control of large parts of the land in the Western states.
A federal judge declared a mistrial in the case against a Nevada farmer Cliven Bundy is accused of leading a 2014 armed confrontation with federal agents in a cattle grazing dispute.
Jurors acquitted the two Bundy sons of the acquisition of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon for more than a month in early 2016, and amid calls for the U.S. government to turn over public land to local governments.
In the Nevada case, Navarro faulted federal prosecutors for not turning over all evidence to defense attorneys, including information about the behavior of the FBI and the Bureau of Land Management agents during the conflict.
“The government is obliged to disclose all evidence that may be favorable” to the defense, the judge said.
The case stems from an armed confrontation that capped a decades-long dispute over Cliven Bundy’s refusal to pay grazing fees. The 71-year-old farmer says his family has grazed livestock for more than a century in the area, and calls on the public land belongs to the states, not the U.S. government.
CLIVEN BUNDY REFUSES TO LEAVE JAIL IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RUNNING PROCESS
The government agents began with the completion of his cattle. The four on trial were accused of involving armed gunmen to force the government agents to abandon the effort.
“A mistrial is a very bad result for the government,” Ian Bartrum, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, law professor who has followed the case closely told the Associated Press.
Bartrum had cast the process as a test of whether the federal government can enforce its own land policy in the Western countries where it owns or controls vast plains.
Acting Prosecutor of the V. S. Steven Myhre had no immediate reply from The Associated Press about the question of whether prosecutors would be the case again, but according to Reuters, a new trial date was set for Feb. 26, 2018.
In a new process, the Bundys and Payne would face 15 felony charges including assault and threats against federal officials, firearms counts, obstruction and extortion.
Prosecutors also failed to win the conviction against others in the Nevada standoff a tense confrontation near Bunkerville, about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.
Six men who recognized carrying assault-style weapons to do with a process and a new process. Two were acquitted, two were convicted of some charges and two are free after pleading guilty to violations to avoid a third trial. No one was found guilty of conspiracy.
Payne had pleaded guilty in July 2016 to a felony conspiracy charge before trial in the armed takeover of the Oregon wildlife refuge. He is now fighting to withdraw his plea and his expected punishment of more than three years in prison.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.