Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Questions remain after mistrial in Bunkerville standoff case

...One question is hanging over the federal courthouse in the wake of Monday’s mistrial: What happens next? Federal prosecutors still have not decided whether to retry the defendants. Taxpayers already have been saddled with significant costs, which only will balloon in a repeat trial. And the remaining 11 defendants who have been in prison for over a year do not want to wait any longer for their day in court. That is why some defense attorneys who represent the second group of defendants, charged as “leaders” of the armed protests in Bunkerville, are hoping that if prosecutors decide to retry any or all of the men in the first group, they will do so by combining them with the second group. “The sensible thing would be to take the three or four and just push them into our group and let it go forward,” defense attorney Christopher Rasmussen said. The attorney represents Santilli, a local radio personality who plans to argue at trial that he is innocent because he was a member of the media reporting on what he viewed as government overreach. “Why keep the Bundys and Santilli in custody another four months?” asked Rasmussen, who has filed a motion requesting that Santilli be tried on June 26, when the first group of defendants is retried. “We’re just hoping to go forward as quickly as possible.” The original plan was for the second trial to open 30 days after the first. Navarro already pushed that back to give prosecutors time to regroup and to prepare in between trials. “They’re happy that the jury believed there was no conspiracy. That’s what they’ve always said, that nobody conspired with anybody,” Rasmussen said of Santilli and the others awaiting trial. “But they’re really frustrated. They want to go to trial.” Supporters of the Bundy family and those closest to them, who, like Santilli, are charged as “leaders” of the standoff, also were encouraged by Monday’s results. “If we can’t get a ‘not guilty,’ we’ll take that,” said Deb Jordan, Santilli’s girlfriend, after the jurors revealed they were “hopelessly deadlocked.”...more

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