Public Lands Lawsuit Bundy

In this April 11, 2015, file photo, rancher Cliven Bundy speaks at an event in Bunkerville, Nev. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Prosecutors deliberately scuttled the 2017 trial of a Nevada rancher and several others involving an armed standoff against U.S. officials, so the government shouldn’t be allowed to revive the case, an attorney told an appeals court set to hear arguments in coming weeks.

Attorney Alyssa Bell, representing co-defendant Ryan Bundy, said Wednesday that prosecutors’ misdeeds forced defendants’ attorneys to ask the judge to dismiss the case midway through proceedings.

A retrial would violate the Fifth Amendment ban against being tried twice for the same offense, she said.

“Retrying the case would only advantage the government by allowing them to strengthen their witnesses’ testimony based on the knowledge gained from information ... revealed thus far,” Bell said in an Aug. 21 court filing to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

U.S. Attorney Nicholas Trutanich in Las Vegas declined to comment outside court. A March 23 hearing was set in Las Vegas.

Larry Klayman, an attorney for co-defendant Cliven Bundy, said Tuesday he expects appellate judges will uphold Navarro’s dismissal of the case that the lawyer called “an unjust and political prosecution fatally infected with extreme prosecutorial misconduct.”

In his court filing, Klayman branded the government appeal as a “Hail-Mary” effort to shield the U.S. attorneys who handled the Bundy case from “career-ending sanctions, if not ... criminal prosecutions.”

Ammon Bundy and Montana civilian militia leader Ryan Payne also are named in the appeal. Cliven Bundy is the father of Ammon and Ryan Bundy.

Navarro pulled the plug on the trial in December 2017, ripping prosecutors and governmental agents for “intentional abdication of ... responsibility,” “flagrant misconduct” and “deliberate attempts to mislead and distort the truth.”

Navarro said the government purposely failed to disclose to defense lawyers evidence that federal agents had snipers and cameras around the Bundy home ahead of the April 2014 standoff in rural Bunkerville.

Hundreds of protesters and armed Bundy family supporters forced federal Bureau of Land Management officials, FBI agents and contract cowboys to give up enforcing court orders to round up Bundy cattle.

Cliven Bundy, four sons and 14 other people were indicted in 2016 on charges including conspiracy and assaulting federal officers that could have gotten them life in prison.

Bundy, 73, maintains the federal government has no authority over state lands. He refused for decades to pay government grazing fees for his cows in what is now Gold Butte National Monument, about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

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(4) comments

GlennWarren

Do you really think that the People of Nevada and other western States are "protected" by having the Federal Government take claim of your State Land? Why can you not govern your own lands? Why can you not choose what to do with them? The Bundy's were standing firmly on Constitutional Principal. To air a comment convinced of their guilt show your lack of knowledge and perspective. Why should you pay the government for Rights you already own? Why pay them for grazing fees which were set up as a promise to help ranchers apply best management practices, only to find out decades later the same benevolent Feds had run out of business 95% of the same ranchers that signed up and whose real goal was to implement an environmental political strategy designed to grab the land for it's mineral resources and value to big business and big government. The People of Nevada are not the winners in this kind of tyranny.

Courtwatcher

I attended the trial of the Bundy defendants. At first, Navarro was openly biased in favor of the federal prosecutors. She banned the constitution from being brought into "her courtroom". She would not allow key witnesses to testify, and denied evidence from the defendants to be admitted regarding the snipers on the hill. It had to be something so big and overwhelming that caused her to reverse herself in supporting her fellow federal employees, the federal prosecutors. It was the blatantly false information presented by the prosecution that could no longer be denied because it came from another federal whistle blower regarding the snipers and the hidden cameras filming the family. The same evidence that she did not allow to be presented by the family was now undeniable and she had no choice but to dismiss the case. The Bundys were never convicted of any crime, but spent two years in prison, much of it in solitary confinement. Such blatant injustice by corrupt prosecutors can happen to anybody, not just the Bundys.

ObeyTheLaw

Please throw this jerk and his sons in jail where they belong. It's not ok to break the law. Refusing to recognize federal authority is not even an excuse -- it's an insult to the People and the Constitution of the US!

Steven

If it was so obvious how they broke the law, they would already be in prison. And yet they aren't. Draw your own conclusions, but be aware that posting them will display your own prejudice.

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