Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Jury selection crucial in Bunkerville standoff retrial

By Jenny Wilson

...Awaiting judge’s ruling In a motion filed last month, Nevada Acting U.S. Attorney Steven Myhre asked the court to prevent defense lawyers from “seeking to persuade jurors to acquit … based on political beliefs or values rather than upon the evidence.” Myhre asked for a broad ban on what represented the marrow of the defense case in the first trial. His motion sought to block testimony about First and Second Amendment rights, police conduct in the days leading up to the standoff and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval’s criticism of BLM agents’ actions prior to the standoff. U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro has not ruled on the motion. The government is expected to condense its case the second time around. Two of the first six defendants, Gregory Burleson and Todd Engel, were convicted, so there are fewer defendants in the second trial. Prosecutors also whittled down their lists of witnesses. New government witness But they added another weapon to their arsenal with the addition of defendant Blaine Cooper as a government witness. Cooper pleaded guilty in the case and was scheduled for sentencing last week. His sentencing hearing was postponed, leading some people in legal circles to speculate that he negotiated a deal with the government that offered him leniency in exchange for testimony. Still, defense attorneys remain optimistic as they head into the first day of jury selection. “I realize that typically retrials are better for the government,” Marchese said. “But this is a unique case, because it wasn’t as if our defense was ever any kind of secret. The government knew where we were coming from from day one.”...more

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