Ten months ago, Ammon and Ryan Bundy caused a stir when they, along with a number of their supporters, seized control of a federally owned wildlife sanctuary. For six weeks, they occupied the land, demanding that the government surrender the nearly 200,000 acre preserve to the locals.
After the weeks-long standoff ended peacefully, federal weapons and conspiracy charges were filed against both Bundys and 5 additional members of their group.
Their trial, which lasted nearly as long as their attempted insurrection, ended Thursday with all parties (Ryan Bundy, Ammon Bundy, Brian Cavalier, Peter Santilli, Shawna Cox, Ryan Payne, and Joseph O’Shaughnessy) being acquitted.
The New York Times reports:
"The defendants never denied that they had occupied and held the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters for nearly six weeks, demanding that the federal government surrender the 188,000-acre property to local control.
But their lawyers argued that prosecutors did not prove that the group had engaged in an illegal conspiracy that kept federal workers — employees of the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management — from doing their jobs."
The Washington Times provided some additional information about the individual charges:
All seven faced charges of conspiring to impede federal employees, while four were also charged with possession of firearms at a federal facility and two had an additional charge of theft of government property.
The jury had not yet reported on one undisclosed charge, according to the Associated Press."
The trial was not without its exciting moments — Judge Anna J. Brown of the U.S. District Court ordered that one juror be dismissed just one day before the verdict was returned. Attorneys for the defendants called for either the juror's removal or a mistrial after he was accused of bias.
One of the defendants, Brian “Booda” Cavalier, was sentenced on Tuesday to time served, or nine months, for “conspiring to impede federal workers through intimidation, threat or force, as well as possession of a firearm at a federal facility.”
Immediately following the trial, Ammon Bundy was placed under arrest again.
Bundy's attorney, Marcus Mumford, put up such a fuss that he was tackled by U.S. Marshals in the courtroom:
But Bundy's arrest stemmed from an earlier standoff also involving a land dispute with the federal government. He is being extradited to Nevada, where he will stand trial for his role in that confrontation as well.
Video of Bundy's arrest after the trial can be viewed here: