Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Change of plea hearing set for refuge occupier

A change of plea hearing has been scheduled for a man arrested following the Ammon Bundy-led occupation of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon. Jason Blomgren, 42, of Murphy, N.C., is set to appear in a federal courtroom in Portland on Thursday. He earlier pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to impede officers of the United States and possession of a firearm in a federal facility. Blomgren was granted pre-trial release in March after his attorney argued that he needed to go back to North Carolina to help care for a son who has autism. Blomgren joined the occupation about a week in after reading about it online. Court records show a federal judge approved spending for Blomgren’s transportation from North Carolina ahead of Thursday’s hearing. More than two dozen occupiers were arrested after the 41-day standoff that ended Feb. 11. Two of them — Corey Lequieu and Eric Lee Flores — have already accepted deals in which they pleaded guilty to conspiracy in exchange for the dismissal of the firearm charge. Prosecutors have recommended a 2 ½-year prison sentence for Lequieu, who has a prior felony, and six months of home detention for Flores, a first-time offender. Bundy and his remaining co-defendants are scheduled to appear in court Wednesday for a status hearing in their case...more

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