Monday, September 26, 2016

Inviting wrath of judge may be part of a calculated approach by Ammon Bundy's lawyer

It would be nearly impossible for jurors not to notice U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown's growing exasperation with Ammon Bundy's lawyer Marcus Mumford. Since the Bundy trial began two weeks ago, the judge has repeatedly told Mumford to follow her rulings, reword his questions to government witnesses and occasionally to either stand up when he addresses her or sit down and stop challenging her directives. Despite her earlier orders that defense lawyers weren't to raise questions at trial about who owns the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Mumford tried to solicit responses from the Harney County sheriff and refuge employees on the subject. Despite the judge's warnings that she didn't want any defendant or defense lawyer to ask witnesses about the circumstances surrounding the fatal police shooting of occupation spokesman Robert "LaVoy" Finicum, Mumford passed off as a question a stinging remark that Finicum was shot three times in the back, asked another witness how close police were to him when he was shot and why the FBI wasn't investigating the shooting. Each time, prosecutors objected. Each time, the judge asked jurors to disregard Mumford's bids to get around her edicts. Out of earshot of the jury, Brown on Thursday had enough. She threatened Mumford with contempt of court if he continued to delve into Finicum's shooting. She told him she'd fine him $1,000 for each time he continued to violate her orders. So how is this of any help to Bundy as he and six others fight federal conspiracy charges in the 41-day armed takeover of the bird sanctuary in eastern Oregon earlier this year? Trial observers have wondered aloud whether Mumford is grasping at straws or if his approach is part of a calculated plan. Legal experts, including a fellow defense lawyer in this case, suggest the latter...more

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