Thursday, October 13, 2016

Oregon standoff defendant Ryan Payne wants to withdraw guilty plea

Ryan Payne, one of the 26 people indicted on a federal conspiracy charge stemming from the seizure of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, wants to withdraw his guilty plea in the case, according to his lawyer. Payne, who also faces a federal indictment in Nevada stemming from the 2014 standoff with federal officers near the Bundy Ranch in Bunkerville, had entered a guilty plea in the Oregon case in July, based on a global offer that was pending in the Nevada case. But his assistant federal public defender said an agreement in the Nevada case hasn't been reached. As a result, Payne, 33, wishes to withdraw his guilty plea in the Oregon case and seek a jury trial, according to new court filings. "As of the date of this filing, no agreement has been reached and there is no plea offer still available to Mr. Payne in Nevada,'' wrote attorney Rich Federico in a motion to withdraw the guilty plea. He filed the motion in U.S. District Court in Portland late Tuesday. Prosecutors said Payne made ultimatums to Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward in November, seeking to prevent Harney County ranchers Dwight Hammond Jr. and son Steven Hammond from returning to federal prison on arson convictions, and led tactical training during the occupation of the Malheur refuge. In Nevada, he's accused of organizing "armed protection'' in the 2014 standoff over the impounding of rancher Cliven Bundy's cattle. According to court records, the government is opposed to Payne withdrawing his guilty plea in the Malheur case...more

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