Monday, December 12, 2016

Bundy brothers refuse to attend Vegas court hearing

Two sons of Nevada cattleman Cliven Bundy refused to attend, and several co-defendants shouted an oath of defiance at the end of a Friday court appearance for 17 men accused of conspiring and taking up arms against federal agents near the Bundy ranch in Nevada in April 2014. U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen decided not to order marshals to bring Ammon and Ryan Bundy to court by force, so the two Bundy sons remained in a nearby holding cell. Marshals were instructed to provide a speaker so they could hear audio of the court proceedings. Another defendant, Peter Santilli, blurted out that the Bundy brothers didn’t want to be shackled. Leen admonished Santilli that he didn’t get to speak on their behalf. So began a contentious three-hour hearing during which the judge didn’t make immediate rulings on a range of arguments, including the government’s request to have three trials and defendants’ requests to be tried together or in groups of their choosing. Trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 6. Leen called it “physically and logistically impossible” to try all 17 defendants together, and suggested it would be unfair for a 17th defendant to have to wait months or years to resolve his case if they were tried individually. She said she’ll issue a written scheduling order soon. Leen also is considering multiple requests to dismiss charges; a plea for a change of venue to Reno or another city; a suggestion that federal officials shredded documents that would be relevant to the case as they packed up and left temporary offices near Bunkerville; and Cliven Bundy’s lawyer’s insistence that the federal government has no jurisdiction in Clark County. Santilli’s attorney argued that he’s a journalist, and that his calls in Internet postings for supporters to rally to the Bundy ranch to lawfully carry guns and protest federal Bureau of Land Management action were constitutionally protected free speech...more

No comments: