Jury finds all Oregon standoff defendants not guilty of federal conspiracy, gun charges

A federal jury on Thursday found Ammon Bundy, his brother Ryan Bundy, and five co-defendants not guilty of conspiring to prevent federal employees from doing their jobs through intimidation, threat or force during the 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

The Bundy brothers and occupiers Jeff Banta and David Fry also were found not guilty of having guns in a federal facility. Kenneth Medenbach was found not guilty of stealing government property, and a hung jury was declared on Ryan Bundy’s charge of theft of FBI surveillance cameras.

“Stunning,” said defense lawyer Lisa Ludwig, who was standby counsel for Ryan Bundy.

“I’m just thrilled,” said Neil Wampler’s attorney Lisa Maxfield.
The jury of nine women and three men returned the verdicts after five hours of deliberations on Thursday in the high-profile case that riveted the state and drew national and international attention to the federal bird sanctuary in rural eastern Oregon.

The coda to the stunning verdict, undoubtedly a significant blow to federal prosecutors, was when Ammon Bundy’s lawyer Marcus Mumford argued that his client, dressed in a gray suit and white dress shirt, should be allowed to walk out of the court, a free man.

U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown told him that there was a U.S. Marshal’s hold on him from a pending federal indictment in Nevada.

“If there’s a detainer, show me,” Mumford stood, arguing before U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown.

Suddenly, a group of about six U.S. Marshals surrounded Mumford at his defense table and grabbed on to him.

“What are you doing?” Mumford yelled, as he struggled and was taken down to the floor.

As deputy marshals yelled, “Stop resisting,” the judge demanded, “Everybody out of the courtroom now!”

Mumford was taken into custody, a member of his legal team confirmed.
Ammon Bundy’s lawyer J. Morgan Philpot said afterward on the courthouse steps that Mumford had been arrested and a taser had been used on him. That could not be independently confirmed.

Just after the verdicts were announced, a few people came through the courthouse doors onto the steps in front of the courthouse to tell a crowd of media and onlookers.

Supporters of the defendants gathered in a joyous hug. One of them, Brand Thornton of Las Vegas, said he had been one of the original occupiers and that he has been at the trial since Oct. 2.

The verdict “means everything,” Thornton said. It’s huge for ranchers and land rights within Harney County and across the West, he said.

“We did something peaceful and wanted to stay peaceful,” said Thornton, who described himself as a close friend of the defendants and stressed that peaceful protest at the occupation was hammered into everyone from Day 1.

“This is for the people of Oregon,” Thornton said. “This was never for us.”
Wampler appeared on the courthouse steps and described the verdict as a “stunning victory for rural America.”

The five-week trial offered a rare display: Three of the seven defendants chose to represent themselves. Five of them were among the more than 80 people who took the witness stand to testify.

And one of the original 12 jurors was dismissed after a fellow juror raised concerns about his impartiality four days into an initial round of deliberations – what the judge called an “extraordinary circumstance.” An alternate juror was summoned to begin a new round of deliberations with the remaining 11 jurors Thursday morning.

There was heightened security in and around the courthouse throughout the trial, with security officers ordered to wear bulletproof vests, and metal detectors set up outside the main trial courtroom and an overflow room with a live video feed of the proceedings.

Often, supporters knelt in prayer in the courthouse corridor before the trial began in the mornings, and some kept vigil across the street, with one fellow occupier blowing a ram’s horn, or shofar, as the jury deliberated.
Updates to come.


Below is the story of what was also really behind the Bundy/Hammond Ranch and Malheur Wildlife Refuge standoffs, as well as that presently occurring at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation:  corporatized colonial resource confiscation, enabled by our massively corrupted federal and state corporate governments.
These men, who were about to be so heavily sentenced here as political prisoners by the US government in Portland, Oregon, were actually attempting – albeit in this instance ill-advisedly — to protect the rights of the American people, including the many environmentalists who have been so quick to condemn them. 
Again, please see the article below with documented forensic evidence from The New York Times, Wikileaks and federal government documents directly relevant to the 2016 presidential campaign. The globalist controllers are now coming after all of us and all that we value, no matter what the color our skin. The only color that such greed can value is green – and of a shade that is never found in nature. The only thing that can counter this is we the people of this planet mindfully standing together to stop it – not being manipulated into self-destructive conflict and condemnation among ourselves. 

Ammon Bundy, other militants found not guilty in Oregon standoff trial

Inmates (clockwise from top left) Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy, Brian Cavalier, Peter Santilli, Shawna Cox, Ryan Payne and Joseph O'Shaughnessy are seen in a combination of police jail booking photos released by the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office in Portland, Oregon. All have been found not guilty of conspiracy. Photo by MCSO/Handout via Reuters

Ammon and Ryan Bundy have been found not guilty of conspiracy. Their five co-defendants Jeff Banta, Shawna Cox, David Fry, Kenneth Medenbach and Neil Wampler have all been found not guilty as well.

Jurors were unable to reach a verdict on Ryan Bundy’s theft of government property charge.
The jury returned its verdict after some six weeks of testimony followed by less than six hours deliberations, and the last minute replacement of a juror after an allegation surfaced that he was biased.

The jury was instructed to disregard their previous work and to reconsider the evidence
The charges stem from the 41-day armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns in eastern Oregon’s high desert. The armed protest began Jan. 2 and ended when the final four occupiers surrendered to the FBI on Feb. 11.

Prosecutors initially charged Ammon Bundy, his brother Ryan Bundy, and 24 others with conspiracy to prevent Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife employees from doing their jobs at the wildlife refuge in Harney County. Some defendants named in the indictment faced weapons charges for carrying firearms in a federal facility, as well as theft of government property.
Only seven defendants went to trial in September. Others have pleaded guilty or are scheduled to go to trial in February 2017.
Through the government’s case, prosecutors attempted to show the jury evidence about when the alleged conspiracy began, as well as how the occupation unfolded and ultimately ended.
The government relied heavily on testimony from law enforcement, including Harney County Sheriff David Ward, as well as dozens of FBI agents who responded to the occupation or processed evidence at the Malheur refuge after the occupation ended.
“At the end of the day, there is an element of common sense that demonstrates the guilt of these defendants,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan Knight said during his closing arguments during the trial. “These defendants took over a wildlife refuge and it wasn’t theirs.”
Conversely, the defense sought to make its case about a political protest – one about protesting the federal government’s ownership and management of public lands.
“The people have to insist that the government is not our master; they are our servants,” Ryan Bundy said during his closing statement to the jury.
Bundy added the occupation had “nothing to do with impeding and preventing the employees of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.”
Puyallup, Washington, resident Brian Edgin said, "it's a sad day in America when our own government doesn't support the Constitution of America." Photo by Conrad Wilson/OPB

The occupation in rural eastern Oregon fueled a long-running debate about the role of the federal government when it comes to managing public lands, especially for ranching and other natural resource-based professions.

Throughout the armed protest, occupation leader Ammon Bundy frequently said their goal was to shift the federally-owned land to local control. During presses conferences and interviews, Bundy frequently said he wanted to “get the ranchers back to ranching, get the loggers back to logging and miners back to mining.”
While federal prosecutors worked to keep their case focused on conspiracy, the trial quickly came to symbolize the growing divide between urban and rural America.
“How did any of these people benefit from protesting the death of rural America?” Attorney Matt Schindler, hybrid counsel for defendant Ken Medenbach, said during his closing statements to the jury.
Five of the seven defendants took the stand in their own defense during the trial. Occupation leader Ammon Bundy’s testimony stretched over the course of three days and included stories about growing up on a ranch and his family role in the 2014 armed standoff in Bunkerville, Nevada.
With the first Oregon trial concluded, the Bundy brothers and several other defendants who participated in the Malheur occupation will now travel to Nevada, where they face charges for their roles in the Bunkerville standoff.