A federal judge in Las Vegas has granted the release of Cliven Bundy, his two sons, and a co-defendant.
FOX5 was the first media outlet to break the story on Wednesday morning following a sealed hearing in which the judge discussed pre-trial release with the U.S. Attorney's Office, the defendants, and their attorneys.
Prosecutors appeared visibly upset when the judge publicly made the announcement late Wednesday afternoon. Judge Gloria Navarro dismissed the jury before announcing her decision but would not discuss what took place during the sealed hearing or why she changed her mind on a decision made in the days leading up to the trial.
Ammon Bundy was released from custody late Thursday morning. He was welcomed by his wife and children, who cried knowing that they can finally be see their father. A crowd of about 50 supporters cheered him on.
"Next to Cliven Bundy, this is possibly the most stubborn cowboy in the United States of America right now!" one woman yelled.
"You raised them good!" another supported cheered.
"When I went in, this little guy was 11 months old," Ammon Bundy said, pointing to his son. "I've missed two years of his life... I have a great opportunity to get to know him again."Ammon Bundy will be wearing a GPS tracking device and is only able to leave the residence in which he is staying for specific reasons granted by the court. He is not allowed to have access to firearms.
"I'll be the first to admit, I'm not a very good prisoner," he laughed. "I'm standing out here and I don't think I would be if the evidence wasn't proving we were at least somewhat less innocent than what we thought last week we were."
Cliven Bundy declined the offer to be released from jail. Bret Whipple, his attorney, said Cliven Bundy will remain at the Henderson Detention Center because of his strong principles.
Whipple indicated that he wished his client would accept release from jail and show up to court wearing something other than a red jail jumpsuit.
"Personally I'm disappointed that my client is not out of custody. I think tactically it only looks positive for the jurors to see these individuals who were in custody last week now being out of custody," Whipple said. "At the same time, I respect his principles and the decisions that he made, and I'll adhere to them. I work for Mr. Cliven Bundy. He's my boss, and I do what I'm told."
Judge Navarro initially denied the pre-trial release of Cliven Bundy, Ammon Bundy, and Ryan Payne weeks ago. At that point, Cliven Bundy's eldest daughter stood up in the middle of the courtroom and started screaming.
"Gloria Navarro, you are an evil, cold-hearted woman!" she yelled earlier this month. "You are a liar! I love you, dad!”
Staff escorted her out of the courtroom.
"Don’t touch me. I’ll sue your ass if you touch me,” she continued to yell.
Wednesday's sealed hearing was held following the testimony of BLM Special Agent Robert Shilakis.
Ryan Bundy, who had already been granted pre-trial release prior to the trial's beginning, has been representing himself in court. He said "mounting evidence" against the government led to the judge's change of heart.
Larry Klayman, another attorney who has worked with Cliven Bundy in the past, said he believes Judge Navarro was forced to allow every defendant to be released based on BLM testimony in which agents revealed they lied about tactics they used to surveil the Bundy family at their ranch.
Ryan Payne is also expected to be released following the results of a judge's decision in Oregon.
Prosecutors alleged they led a self-styled militia to stop federal agents from enforcing court orders to remove Bundy's cattle from public land.
The trial will continue on December 11th and is expected to last for months.
Copyright 2017 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.