Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Federal judge denies Oregon standoff defendant Ryan Bundy's motion to ditch his standby counsel

U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown on Tuesday denied Oregon standoff defendant Ryan Bundy's last-minute attempt to ditch his standby counsel. "I do not want her to represent me. I do not want her assistance,'' Bundy said, standing before the court during its last pretrial conference hearing, a day before jury selection is set to begin. Bundy, who chose to represent himself in the federal conspiracy case stemming from the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, said he does not trust standby counsel Lisa Ludwig in front of a jury. Jury selection is scheduled to begin Wednesday, and Bundy is one of eight defendants set for trial. The judge reminded Bundy that he chose to serve as his own lawyer, and the court appointed Ludwig to assist him should he change his mind, or in the event that the court must exclude Bundy from the courtroom. "You don't have any right to choose who that is,'' Brown reminded Bundy. Only defendants who retain counsel, "as your brother did,'' can choose who will represent them, the judge said, referring to Bundy's younger brother Ammon Bundy, who has retained two attorneys. "You're insinuating,'' Bundy continued, that because a defendant may have fewer funds, "I have less rights than another?'' Brown told Bundy the U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that defendants seeking court-appointed attorneys don't get their pick of who will represent them. "You can't have it both ways. You gave up that right,'' the judge continued. In other action, the judge heard further argument about the government's error in sharing raw data from 11 Facebook accounts belonging to 10 defendants with all 26 alleged conspirators after the information was deemed irrelevant to the case and should have been kept under seal. Brown said she was still dissatisfied with the government's explanation of how the error occurred, after receiving written declarations from those involved and additional explanations Tuesday from Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Bradford...more