Friday, February 05, 2016

Ammon Bundy’s Eugene lawyers release jailhouse statement after Bundy is indicted

The Eugene attorneys representing Ammon Bundy said at a news conference Thursday that they have advised their client that he has the right to remain silent. “But he continues to want to voice his political speech from jail,” said Lissa Casey, a member of the Mike Arnold law firm. At that, Casey played a prerecorded statement that Bundy made on Thursday morning from the Multnomah County Jail in Portland, where he is incarcerated. In the statement, Bundy said he is in solitary confinement and just learned that he has been indicted. “I ask the question: What are people to do?” Bundy says on the recording. “This is what you get when government officials ignore the people. We exhausted all prudent measures to get government officials to investigate the abuses to the Hammond family. Tens of thousands of people understood injustices were taking place by government officials, and their petitions were ignored.” Ranchers Dwight and Steve Hammond are the father and son whose recent return to jail on arson convictions spurred Bundy and others to take over facilities at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge south of Burns on Jan. 2. Bundy, his brother Ryan Bundy, and several others were arrested north of Burns on Jan. 26 during an FBI and Oregon State Police traffic stop that resulted in the shooting death of occupier Robert “LaVoy” Finicum. An unapologetic Bundy asserted in his recorded statement that government actions are what result in such counter-actions as the occupiers’ takeover of the Malheur refuge. “Taking over the refuge was not only right, it was the duty of the people to do,” Bundy says in the statement. “When government officials are acting in contrary to the people, they must not get away with it. “The takeover of the Malheur refuge was a needed action to show government officials that the people will not be complacent when they prosecute and bully good families like the Hammonds. Government officials chose to end our educational efforts with attacks of force, and it appears they intend to do it again. Go home Oregon State Police, you have already killed enough. Go home FBI, it is time to end this.” Also at Thursday’s press conference, held at the Arnold law firm’s offices in the Hult Plaza, Casey asserted that Bundy was wrongfully denied the opportunity to question government witnesses Wednesday before the indictment against him was issued. The indictment was issued Wednesday but wasn’t unsealed until Thursday. “It’s a big problem that an accused political protester, who already mistrusts the government, is prevented access to the courts where federal prosecutors are speaking about his case,” Casey said. “The irony here is that the government already attempted to restrict him and his liberty by preventing his release ... “Political protesters need access to the courts,” Casey said. In a criminal complaint, defendants have a right to a preliminary hearing in which they can question the arresting officer under oath about probable cause for the charges. After an indictment, however, they are no longer entitled to such a proceeding. Thus, the preliminary hearing for the defendants in the case was canceled on Wednesday in a routine move after the federal grand jury’s indictment was issued...more

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