Standoff at wildlife refuge in Oregon: Environmentalist decries verdict

Photo Credit (individual suspect photos): Multnomah County Sheriff's Office
Photo Credit (individual suspect photos): Multnomah County Sheriff's Office

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – The Latest on the trial of seven defendants who were involved in an armed standoff at a wildlife refuge in Oregon (all times local):

6:20 p.m. – An environmentalist says the acquittal of the leaders of an armed takeover of an Oregon wildlife refuge will embolden extremists.

Ammon Bundy and six others were found not guilty Thursday of conspiracy and possession of firearms at the Oregon federal facility.

Kieran Suckling, executive director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said the verdict was disturbing for people who care about public lands, the rights of native people and “a political system that refuses to be bullied by violence and racism.”

Suckling said Bundy and his followers were radicals who want to take over public lands.

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6:05 p.m. – An attorney for one of the leaders of an armed takeover of an Oregon wildlife refuge says his client’s acquittal bodes well for him in an upcoming case in Nevada.

Ammon Bundy and six other defendants were found not guilty Thursday of conspiracy and possession of firearms at the Oregon federal facility.

Daniel Hill, attorney for Ammon Bundy in the Nevada case, said that was good news for his client and the other defendants facing felony weapon, conspiracy and other charges in the tense gunpoint standoff in 2014 about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

Hill told The Associated Press that when the Nevada jury “hears the whole story, I expect the same result.”

Bundy faces charges in Nevada stemming from the standoff with federal agents trying to round up cattle owned by their father Cliven Bundy.

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5:45 p.m. – The U.S. attorney for Oregon has defended the decision to bring charges against seven defendants who were acquitted for their part in the armed takeover of a federal wildlife refuge.

U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams issued a statement Thursday saying that his office had strongly believed the case needed to be brought before a court and decided by a jury.

Williams said while he had expected a different outcome he respects the jury’s decision.

Jurors found brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy and five others not guilty of conspiring to impede federal workers from their jobs at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Some of the defendants also were charged with possession of firearms at a federal facility and were acquitted on that count as well.

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5:10 p.m. – An attorney for the leader of the occupation at an Oregon wildlife refuge has been hit by a stun gun multiple times and tackled by federal authorities in a courtroom after his client was acquitted.

Ammon Bundy’s defense lawyer Marcus Mumford demanded his client be released immediately after Bundy and six others were found not guilty Thursday. Mumford kept yelling at the judge and wouldn’t calm down, so U.S. marshals used their stun guns on the attorney and then wrestled him to the floor.

Another Bundy lawyer, Morgan Philpot, says Mumford has been arrested.

The judge told Mumford that Bundy would be held because he’s also facing charges in Nevada stemming from a 2014 standoff at his father Cliven Bundy’s ranch.

After Mumford was tackled, the judge cleared the courtroom.

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4:25 p.m. – The leaders of an armed group that took over a national wildlife refuge in rural Oregon have been found not guilty of conspiracy and possession of firearms at a federal facility.

A jury on Thursday acquitted brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy and five others of conspiring to impede federal workers from their jobs at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Some of the defendants also were charged with possession of firearms at a federal facility and were acquitted on that count as well.

The standoff began Jan. 2 and lasted nearly six weeks, bringing new attention to a long-running dispute over control of federal lands in the U.S. West.

The Bundys are still facing charges in Nevada stemming from a high-profile 2014 standoff with federal agents trying to round up their father Cliven Bundy’s cattle.

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4 p.m. – Jurors in the trial of those who took over a national wildlife refuge in Oregon have sent a note to the judge saying they’ve reached a consensus on all but one charge.

The jury also told the judge on Thursday that further deliberations would not help them agree on that charge, which wasn’t disclosed.

Standoff leaders Ammon and Ryan Bundy and five others were charged with conspiring to impede federal workers from their jobs at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Several also were charged with possessing a firearm in a federal facility.

The standoff began Jan. 2 and lasted nearly six weeks, bringing new attention to a long-running dispute over control of federal lands in the U.S. West.

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9:30 a.m. – An alternate juror arrived at the federal courthouse in Portland, allowing deliberations to resume in the trial of Ammon Bundy and six co-defendants.

The woman from Central Oregon known as Juror No. 18 replaces a man who was dismissed after another juror questioned his impartiality.

U.S. District Judge Anna Brown welcomed the new juror Thursday, and reminded the remaining jurors to disregard past deliberations and start over. She told them not to discuss why the alternate was needed.

The jury was in its fourth day of deliberations when Brown stopped them Wednesday.

The nine women and three men are expected to deliberate until 5:30 p.m. If there’s no verdict, they will return Monday.

The seven defendants occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge last winter. They were charged with conspiring to impede Interior Department employees from doing their jobs.

 

 

 

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