Monday, October 03, 2016

Judge drops firearms charge against Shawna Cox; Harney County sheriff called back to testify

Defense lawyers Monday called back Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward to the stand, trying to show that Ammon Bundy gave the sheriff several opportunities to intervene in the disputed return to prison of two Harney County ranchers. But Ward, under contentious questioning from Bundy's lawyer, said it was clear Ammon Bundy was "pushing an agenda,'' had lied in his emails to supporters and in statements on social media and was making ultimatums that couldn't be met. In other significant action Monday, U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown dismissed a charge of possessing a firearm in a federal facility against Shawna Cox. The judge found the government hadn't presented sufficient evidence to support the charge, granting Cox's motion for acquittal on that count. Ward, dressed in a gray suit and tie, spent two hours on the witness stand Monday morning, questioned mostly by Bundy's lawyer, Marcus Mumford. Mumford sought to discredit Ward's previous characterization of the support he received when he asked refuge occupiers to go home during a Jan. 6 community meeting at the fairgrounds in Burns. Mumford played for jurors a videotape of the meeting, trying to show that not all hands were raised in support of the sheriff's query: "How many want to work this out peacefully and want these people to go home?'' Mumford also sought to show that some hands were up for resolving the matter peacefully but down for having the protesters go home. "When I asked the question, a large majority raised their hands. I can't testify to the exact percentage,'' Ward testified. "I believe I was asking one question.'' Mumford also played six clips from a Nov. 17 meeting that Ammon Bundy, along with members of the Pacific Patriots Network, Josephine Oath Keepers and Idaho 3 Percenters, had with the sheriff in the law library of the Harney County courthouse. Bundy repeatedly told the sheriff that they didn't believe ranchers Dwight Hammond Jr. and son Steven Hammond should go back prison to complete a minimum mandatory federal sentence of five years for arson. Bundy said he believed they "speak for the American people'' and urged the sheriff to intervene and make a decision – "stand with the Hammonds or not.'' "If you do not make a decision, the Hammonds will further suffer and everyone in this room, tens of thousands of others have pledged to not let this happen,'' Bundy told the sheriff. "You're the one who could make this happen peacefully. ... We are not bluffing. This has to end.''...more

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