Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Oregon standoff trial: Monday's highlights and what's ahead

What you need to know about Monday's developments:
  • As the third week of the federal conspiracy case against Ammon Bundy and six co-defendants began in Portland, attorneys argued whether the use of weapons at the refuge during the occupation was an act of force. FBI agents, photographers and forensic accountants who were part of the agency's Evidence Response Team spent the day testifying about what they recovered from the bird sanctuary in late February after the 41-day occupation. 
  • Prosecutors told the court Monday that authorities discovered more than 20,000 unfired rounds of ammunition in boxes, bags, trucks and bunks at the Malheur National Refuge when the takeover ended.
  • They revealed handwritten notes investigators seized from the bunkhouse and elsewhere that described tactical training, formations and drills, guard duty schedules and individual assignments such as "rifleman'' or "medic.''
  • FBI agents held up plastic evidence bags containing the 1,627 spent shell casings recovered near the boat launch on the northeast side of the property. 
  • Jurors watched a video of seven or eight men rapidly firing assault rifles from the refuge's boat launch.
  • Assistant U.S Attorney Ethan Knight argued the video, posted on co-defendant Jason Blomgren's Facebook account, contradicts the argument by defense lawyers and defendants that the armed takeover was a peaceful political protest.
  • Attorney Marcus Mumford, representing takeover leader Ammon Bundy, argued that firing the guns wasn't an act of force in and of itself and that the video wasn't publicly posted on Blomgren's account but sent in a message to Blomgren's father.
  • U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown said a rational juror could conclude the video provides evidence of the defendants' intent in the alleged conspiracy.
  • An FBI agent testified that 63 people searched 23 buildings, nine outdoor areas and 14 privately owned vehicles on the federal property.
  • During a cross-examination of an FBI agent, defendant Ryan Bundy asked if pocket Constitutions depicted in a photo of one of the rooms in the refuge bunkhouse were seized as evidence. The agent said he didn't take them. "So you did not find anything of value in there?'' Bundy continued. The judge sustained an objection to the question from prosecutors.

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