Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Lawyers vigorously challenge misdemeanor charges against refuge occupiers

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A flag signed by various occupiers hangs in the common area of a bunkhouse
 at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Jan. 15, 2016. Thomas Boyd/Staff
Defense lawyers Wednesday vigorously challenged misdemeanor charges against four defendants accused in the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge as the judge prodded a prosecutor to make his case against each by citing specific evidence and exhibits. The defense argued that the federal regulation involving trespass at a national wildlife refuge is vague, that defendants never received formal notice they were trespassing and that no evidence exists that the four saw trespassing signs on the property. They also said a white Dodge Durango, a green all-terrain vehicle, an excavator and front-loader that defendants used didn't have U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service decals on them. Prosecutors countered that the evidence is "overwhelming'' and the defense team's arguments defy common sense. Brown gave prosecutors until noon Friday to file a supplemental legal memo on its case. She'll issue her findings and verdicts on the misdemeanors in writing, she said. Her ruling may or may not coincide with the jury's verdicts on the felony conspiracy, weapons and depredation of government property charges. After they began deliberating, the jurors sent a question to the judge, asking for a transcript of the trial. The judge wrote back that an official transcript isn't currently available...more

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