Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Oregon refuge defendant who appeared in video pleads guilty

A former Marine whose appearances in widely shared videos made him one of the most recognizable figures during the armed takeover of an Oregon wildlife refuge pleaded guilty Monday for his role in the weekslong standoff with authorities. Jon Ritzheimer, 32, admitted that he conspired with Ammon Bundy and others to prevent U.S. Interior Department employees from doing their jobs at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, and they did so by threats of force or intimidation. Prosecutors dropped two charges as part of a plea agreement - theft of government property and possessing a firearm on federal property. Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Gabriel said prosecutors will recommend 2½ years in prison when the Arizona man is sentenced in May. Ritzheimer's attorney, Terri Wood, can argue for less. Ritzheimer was part of the initial convoy that arrived at the refuge near Burns, Oregon, and took control, authorities say. They informed Bundy, who was at the rally, that they had seized the place. Ritzheimer used his own truck to block an entrance during the occupation and organized armed guard duties, said Gabriel, the prosecutor. Authorities seized a shotgun that he brought to the refuge. Ritzheimer told U.S. District Court Judge Anna J. Brown that he helped "take the protest to the next level."  After the hearing, Ritzheimer said he pleaded guilty because he reviewed the charge and, though he may not agree with it, admits he violated the law as it's written. "Marines believe in integrity," he said....more


Dave Pickel said...

Another vanguard of the Liberate Federal Ground for Me movement pleads. He is the 11th individual to plead guilty in the case. I wonder if the Bundys understand that the statements of the guilty will be used against them. This is just Oregon besides. Nevada has a bone to pick with them as well.

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