Monday, June 13, 2016

Prosecutors want all Bundy defendants tried together in Bunkerville standoff case

Federal prosecutors oppose separate trials for Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, his four sons and 10 other defendants charged in the 2014 armed Bunkerville standoff. In court papers filed late Friday, prosecutors said none of the 15 defendants made a legitimate showing that their defenses will be compromised if they are tried together in the alleged conspiracy to assault federal law enforcement officers a few miles from the Bundy ranch. A total of 19 defendants are to stand trial Feb. 6 on an array of felonies, including conspiracy, extortion, obstruction of justice and assault. Most of the defendants, including the Bundy patriarch, have filed court papers seeking separate trials, arguing a large group trial would violate their constitutional rights and deny them a fair shake before a jury. Three of the Bundy brothers — Ammon, Ryan and Mel — want to be tried with their other brother Dave. Several of the defendants argued that the government wants everyone tried together so it can convict them all by “guilt by association.” But prosecutors countered that the sweeping conspiracy charge makes this is a “classic case” for trying the 19 defendants together. “Specifically, joint trials provide the jury an ability to see into the entire picture of an alleged crime and enable jury members to reach a more reliable conclusion as to the guilt or innocence of the defendants involved, and thus more fairly assign corresponding responsibilities of each defendant,” prosecutors wrote...more

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