Friday, July 08, 2016

AP Can Fight Protective Order in Bundy Trial

A federal judge said The Associated Press may intervene in the criminal case against Cliven Bundy et al. in Nevada "for the limited purpose of opposing the government's motion for protective order." U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen granted the motion to intervene by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Battle Born Media and The Associated Press, on July 1. There is no right of access to criminal discovery or information known by the government that has not been released to the public, Leen said, but the newspapers are not looking for court proceedings or judicial records. They merely "seek to weigh in on the propriety of a protective order sought by the government to limit disclosure of pretrial discovery." "Intervention is typically linked to the public's presumptive right of access to court documents or records. In general, the press and the public have a qualified First Amendment right of access to pretrial hearings and documents," Leen wrote. (Citations omitted.) She said the indictment at issue came after a "decades-long series of disputes" between Bundy and the federal government over land use and a two-year investigation of the April 2014 standoff between Bundy, his supporters and the Bureau of Land Management. The 19 defendants claim they were "peacefully protesting" the federal government's attempt to confiscate Bundy's cattle, and exercising their Second Amendment right to bear arms. But the federal government claims Bundy and his co-defendants "planned and led an armed assault to threaten, intimidate and extort law enforcement officers from carrying out lawful orders of this court," Leen wrote...more

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