Friday, October 07, 2016

Ammon Bundy: Guns allowed Oregon refuge occupiers to express First Amendment rights

And so the cross-examination went, with the prosecutor highlighting key testimony that Bundy offered earlier in his federal conspiracy trial that seemed to bolster the government's case against him: There was a "unified purpose'' to the occupation, guns played a role in helping carry out the refuge takeover, that Bundy knew federal employees worked at the site and Bundy and others used parts of the refuge as their own. Knight's quick questions in a combative tone were striking in contrast to the soft-spoken questions that Bundy's lawyer Marcus Mumford asked during about 10 hours of direct examination. The prosecutor asked if it were true that Bundy testified earlier Thursday that "We were all there for a unified purpose.'' Bundy said he didn't remember. Knight pointed out that Bundy had testified that he gave Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward no ultimatums or threats. "But you told him unless he agreed with your demands, there would be extreme civil unrest?'' Knight asked. "I don't believe I said that,'' Bundy responded. Knight referred to Bundy's testimony that he used a GPS to find the Malheur refuge when he went there on Jan. 2, the start of the occupation. "You had to use GPS to get there even though you planned to control it until 2036?'' Knight asked incredulously, referring to Bundy's contention that he was trying to stake claim to the property through adverse possession. Bundy's lawyer Marcus Mumford objected to the form of the question. "My question is you went to a location you've never been before for that purpose?'' Knight continued. "You're assuming I'm acknowledging it's a federal property,'' Bundy replied. "We were there disputing it was a federal property.'' "So you're saying the property you went to was not, in your belief, a federal property?'' "No,'' Bundy said. "Yet you were trying to adversely possess it ... isn't that correct?'' Knight questioned. "Yes,'' Bundy replied. Knight pounced on Bundy's direct testimony earlier in the day about a maroon pouch, which had been locked in a refuge filing cabinet but was found later in one of the defendant's cars. It contained cash, refuge gas cards, credit cards and a refuge employee ID card, according to earlier testimony. Bundy said during direct testimony that someone had brought the pouch to him during the occupation and it contained cash. He said he placed it in the loft of refuge biologist Linda Beck's office, where he was staying, to keep it secured. "It wasn't ours. We didn't have a right to use it,'' Bundy testified. Knight reminded Bundy of his statements and asked, "Yet you felt differently about the rest of the refuge, isn't that right?'' Bundy said the pouch was "clearly separate from the refuge'' as it contained receipts from the nonprofit Friends of the Malheur Refuge, which supports the sanctuary. "We could see receipts and we knew the money was not ours,'' Bundy testified. "And that property was different than all the other property at the refuge?'' Knight pressed. "It needed to be secured, yes,'' Bundy replied. Bundy added that the gas and credit cards were placed in the pouch by people occupying the refuge. Knight questioned Bundy whether he knew federal employees worked at the refuge. In response to further questions, Bundy said yes, the signs were changed and the kitchen was used, but he testified that he hadn't accessed any computers or built any new roads, as Knight suggested. "I assumed they did,'' Bundy answered. Knight asked if he made changes to the property? Bundy asked what he meant by "changes.''In response to further questions, Bundy said yes, the signs were changed and the kitchen was used, but he testified that he hadn't accessed any computers or built any new roads, as Knight suggested. Knight said guns were brought to "keep the federal government away," right? "No,'' Bundy responded. Yet Knight reminded him of his testimony that if the occupiers hadn't brought firearms to the refuge, they likely would have been hauled off in zip ties and handcuffs in a paddy wagon. "So the presence of guns prolonged your presence?'' Knight asked. "It protected us from being detained,'' Bundy said. "I would say they allowed us to express our First Amendment rights.''...more

1 comment:

Dave Pickel said...

It's going to get really bizarre when Ryan takes the stand.