Thursday, February 09, 2017

Rulings could shape Vegas trial of 6 in Bundy ranch standoff

Several defense attorneys are seeking dismissal of the case, accusing the U.S. attorney's office of improperly withholding information about Daniel Love, the federal Bureau of Land Management supervisor who oversaw the Bundy cattle roundup in April 2014. Findings released last week by the federal Interior Department inspector general faulted the supervisory agent from Salt Lake City for accepting tickets and transportation at the Burning Man festival in Nevada in 2015, and for influencing the hiring of a friend to the bureau. The unnamed agent was accused of trying to influence employees not to cooperate with the probe of his activities. The findings weren't final, but were referred to higher-ups for possible disciplinary action. Federal public defenders representing one defendant identify Love as the head of the Bundy cattle impoundment operation and an important witness for the prosecution...The judge ruled Monday against one defendant's bid to prevent the government from showing jurors an interview he gave in the months after the standoff to a film crew from a company called Longbow Productions. Defense attorneys allege that crew members said they were making a documentary, but the interviews were for the FBI. Cliven Bundy is among other defendants seeking to prevent the jury from seeing his interview. He says that witnesses were paid, tricked and coached into making incriminating statements for the camera...Prosecutors have asked the judge to narrow the focus of the trial to the day of the standoff, and to prohibit defense teams from referring to federal land policies in Nevada and other states in the West where the federal government owns vast swaths of rangeland. Defense lawyers argue that if the government hopes to prove conspiracy, the jury has to hear what the defendants believe and why they went to the Bundy ranch...more

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