Thursday, January 19, 2017

Defendants in second Oregon standoff trial want Ammon Bundy, Ryan Payne to testify

The second wave of defendants set for trial next month in the armed seizure of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge want occupation leaders Ammon Bundy and Ryan Payne to testify in their defense. Bundy and Payne are both in custody in Nevada, scheduled to face trial themselves this spring in another federal case. The seven defendants in the second Oregon standoff trial have proposed that Bundy and Payne be transferred to Oregon to testify sometime in March and then return to Nevada by April for their trial in the 2014 standoff with federal land management agents near Bunkerville, Nevada. They anticipate Bundy, who testified over three days last fall and was acquitted of all charges in the refuge takeover case, would take the stand on two trial days. "In my opinion, his testimony cannot be replicated by any other witness or even group of witnesses. Mr. Bundy also has personal knowledge of facts related to the misdemeanor charges presently facing these defendants that were not at issue in the first trial and to which Mr. Bundy's prior testimony did not apply,'' wrote defense lawyer Andrew Kohlmetz, standby lawyer for defendant Jason Patrick. "It is the unanimous judgment of all defense counsel that Ammon Bundy is a critical witness for the defendants in this case.'' Prosecutors argue that no mention of the acquittal of Ammon Bundy and his six co-defendants be allowed during the second trial, saying it would be irrelevant and "wildly prejudicial.'' If the court were to allow mention of the acquittals, then the court also should mention the defendants who have pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge as well, but ask the jury in the second trial to disregard both, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan Knight wrote in a court filing. Defendants want the court to allow evidence that the seven defendants tried last fall were acquitted on the federal conspiracy charge...more

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