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Federal Judge Declares Mistrial in Cliven Bundy Case

Federal Judge Declares Mistrial in Cliven Bundy Case

Judge set a new hearing for January 8.

Federal Judge Gloria Navarro declared a mistrial in the case against Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who is accused of leading a standoff against the government in 2014. The trial includes his sons Ryan and Ammon and Montana militia leader Ryan Payne.

Navarro “tentatively set a new trial date for February” and said that the prosecutors “willfully withheld critical and ‘potentially exculpatory” evidence from the defense.”

Back in 2014, Bundy and his friends decided to revolt against the Bureau of Land Management after it issued him a court order to round up his cattle since he has refused “to pay fees required to graze his herds on federal property” for the last two decades. People responded to support Bundy and the government eventually backed off. No one fired a shot in the four day standoff..

In this trial, the four men “were accused of enlisting armed gunmen to force government agents to abandon the effort.” They faced a maximum 20 year prison sentence.

From Reuters:

Navarro had warned prosecutors last week that she might declare a mistrial after listing documents previously undisclosed by prosecutors that could be used to impeach government witnesses or bolster defendants’ arguments that they felt surrounded by government snipers prior to the standoff.

In a stinging rebuke on Wednesday, Navarro said prosecutors knew or should have known of the existence of memos from FBI agents that may have been helpful to the defense.

Those memos and other documents, some 3,300 pages in all, were not turned over until well after an Oct. 1 deadline, and then only after repeated efforts by Bundy’s defense counsel, Navarro said.

It took her almost an hour to explain her choice and “stopped short of dismissing charges against the four men.” A new hearing will occur on January 8 when she will hear defense arguments, but we do not know if “the case will be retried because Navarro did not rule whether the mistrial was with or without prejudice.”

The Bundy family have maintained that they “felt endangered by government ‘snipers’ positioned on the hill above their ranch.”

Previous attempts to charge these men and others have not worked. From AZ Central:

But making a solid case against Bundy and his supporters has so far eluded prosecutors. Two federal juries in Las Vegas have rejected conspiracy claims against six defendants in earlier trials.

A jury in April deadlocked on charges against four of the first six defendants. It convicted Gregory Burleson of Arizona and Todd Engel of Idaho on weapons and obstruction charges but dismissed all of the conspiracy charges.

The government launched its retrial of the four defendants in July. But a second federal jury did not return any guilty verdicts after four days of deliberation.

Richard Lovelien of Oklahoma and Steven Stewart of Idaho were acquitted on all counts and walked out of court in August free after spending more than a year in prison.

Eric Parker and O. Scott Drexler were acquitted on most charges, but jurors deadlocked on a few weapons charges. Rather than face a third trial, both pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of obstructing a court order.


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This is a Big Deal – this case has fallen apart not because of guilt or innocence of the accused, but rather because of now proven corruption by federal prosecutors.

Every first year law student learns the Brady rules, and also learns that there is NEVER an excuse for violating them. Were these prosecutors not only corrupt, but so sure that they would be covered by their bosses that they didn’t need to worry about even trying to follow the rules?

I sincerely hope disbarment is pursued for anyone who was involved in the prosecution’s decision making.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Tom Servo. | December 20, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    Didn’t the Federal Gooberment Goon Employees shoot some of them to death over this?

      In fact, the whistleblower alleges that one of the top bureaucrats involved in this displayed a prominent “kill list” in his office, listing those ranchers who had died and whose deaths he claimed to have been involved in, and also listing the Bundy’s and several witnesses to the current case as future targets.

      This is truly corruption on a level that we do not usually see in this country – we are seriously talking about federal officials conspiring to bring about the murders of those dirty peasants who inconvenience them.

Again, timing is everything.

Apparently, these documents were requested and order to be produced by Oct. 1st. Now, here we are in the middle of a trial two months later and suddenly this becomes and issue. Why?

As a judge had ordered specific materials to be turned over previously, and the defense knew, or should have known, that these materials had not been turned over as directed, why did they not go back to the judge before the trial date and have the prosecution forced to produce the documents? Why wait until the middle of a trial with, a jury already seated, to bring this matter up? Hummm? If you were defending a client and you believed that there was exculpatory or mitigating evidence in the possession of the prosecution and a judge had ordered that evidenced to be made available to the defense two months before the trial would you wait until the trial was underweight to make a stink? Especially if you did not know for sure that the documents contained any such evidence because you had not examined them? Something stinks here, and it is not limited to potential prosecutorial misconduct. Somebody may be CYAing themselves. And there exists the possibility that this kerfuffle was staged expressly to derail the trial. But, the whole thing is very weird. We’ll have to wait and see exactly what is going on here.

    Pagliaccio in reply to Mac45. | December 20, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    This being a Brady violation, it’s entirely possible the defense didn’t even know these documents existed, and clearly did not know the substance of them. T

    Tom Servo in reply to Mac45. | December 20, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    So, the defense was so clever that they somehow tricked the DOJ Prosecutors into committing an offense for which every one of them should be disbarred?

    Wow, those are some really clever defense lawyers there.

    But in all seriousness, the trial fell apart now because this memo from a former BLM lead investigator was leaked to the public, and it reveals an agency stocked with Federal agents that were totally out of control and routinely acting as laws unto themselves. In light of what is reported here, which a Federal Judge has now found credible, there was no possibility of continuing with the trial, and I am of the opinion that there will be no new trial in February, either.

      neanderthal in reply to Tom Servo. | December 20, 2017 at 8:04 pm

      No wonder, if what’s in that document is true.

        I would tend to believe Larry Wooten, the FBI agent working the investigation under the BLM here. The BLM people have a long history of thuggish behavior in that section of the country, without which Mr. Bundy would not have been able to get the support he did. The report/paper/complaint Mr. Wooten issued is pretty stark, and doesn’t do any of the suspicious “I’m an angel, everybody around me were devils” exaggerations found in a lot of bogus reports. In short, the BLM and members of the prosecution team:
        – Engaged in behavior totally at odds with normal workplace decorum
        – Shredded documents and withheld electronic device pertantent to the investigation in secret
        – Displayed a high level of crude bias against the defendants and any supporters
        – Did not follow standard procedures with evidence, including logging such at the time of acquiring them (therefore making terrible chain of custody issues)
        – When dismissing him from the case after he became a whistleblower, seized all of his case files including those from other cases without documenting what was siezed, up to and including personal records of his own.

        So in short, the BLM investigators were biased, sloppy, had no qualms about lying to the defense or destroying evidence, and were willing to retaliate against anybody who tried to expose them. Hillary would have hired them in a blink.

      Read Wooten’s memo carefully. Nowhere in it does he enumerate any exculpatory evidence which was withheld from the defense. Nowhere in it does he even suggest that the incident did not occur as reported or that the defendants were not guilty of the crimes charged. The part of the memo which deals with the prosecution of the crimes is critical of the decision not to ask for conviction on lesser charges. The only thing he does address, with regard to any evidenciary material, is the retention of Bundy’s iPad and then says that he thinks there are things on the device which may make the BLM look bad, not any exculpatory evidence. In fact, almost the entire memo is a rambling recounting of things totally irrelevant to the case at hand concerning office behaviors of BLM employees. He seems to feel that he was not given total responsibility for the investigation, as lead investigator, of what he calls “the largest, most expansive and important investigation ever within the Department of the Interior”, despite having less than three years in his position as investigator.

      I can see why the judge might declare a mistrial and give the defense a few weeks to investigate this, rather than having it appealed and sent back for a retrial. But, so far, I don’t really see any suppression of evidence relevant to this case. And, as this case really looked like a slam dunk from the beginning, for the prosecution, I can see why the defense might like additional time to try to find information which may make federal witnesses look bad.

      The facts in this case are clear and always have been. The Bundys refused to pay grazing fees, to the BLM, and continued to run their cattle on portions of range which were closed to that activity, for 20 years. They went to court twice and in both instances, the court found for the BLM. After the second court case, the Bundys were ordered to remove their cattle. They refused. When the court declared the cattle abandoned property and issued the order for the NLM to seize the cattle and remove them from the range, Bundy called for armed resistance to this activity. When it materialized, citizens, openly bearing arms, threatened the federal agent on scene. This is well documented. So, exactly what exculpatory evidence exists? That thaw enforcement took the reasonable precaution of stationing snipers in over-watch positions to support the agents on the ground if they were attacked? Please.

      I’m waiting to see the suppressed exculpatory evidence that was suppressed before I buy into the “evil federal prosecutors withheld pertinent evidence” in this case meme. And, as I said previously, I find it very convenient that this memo would crop up in the middle of this trial and in a way that benefits the defense by allowing the judge to declare a mistrial.

        Milhouse in reply to Mac45. | December 20, 2017 at 11:03 pm

        The facts in this case are clear and always have been. The Bundys refused to pay grazing fees, to the BLM, and continued to run their cattle on portions of range which were closed to that activity, for 20 years.

        Those are facts, but there is another side to the story. The BLM did not set those fees and close those portions in good faith. The BLM doesn’t own the land for its own benefit; it holds the land in trust for the benefit of its users. Instead it deliberately decided to drive those users out. Imagine if the National Park Service were to decide on a policy of getting rid of all visitors to Yellowstone, by raising the fees so high, and restricting the areas that can be visited so much, that nobody wants to come. Technically they can do that but it would be a massive breach of faith. From the Bundys’ point of view that’s what the BLM did here. It’s a fact that it drove out all the other ranchers, and the Bundys only survived by defying them. But the courts defer to the government agencies’ decisions and presume them to be legitimate and in good faith, so what chance do they have?


          gospace in reply to Milhouse. | December 21, 2017 at 12:07 am

          This comment makes sense, is clear, and easy to understand. Did someone hijack your account?

          Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | December 21, 2017 at 12:12 am

          It’s exactly the same as all my other comments. The only difference is that this time you happen to like the opinion expressed, so you praise it. That’s what happens when you have no principles, and your position on any matter depends entirely on whose ox is gored.

          xdevildog in reply to Milhouse. | December 21, 2017 at 10:39 am

          In addition it is a fact that the various branches of the Bundy family began raising cattle and children in that area at the intersection of Arizona, Utah and Nevada over 50 years before the BLM was even conceived. Not a legal observation, more a mindset.

          Sopater in reply to Milhouse. | January 2, 2018 at 12:27 pm

          However, that is not what Cliven Bundy is being charged with. The charges are:
          1. Conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States
          2. Assault on a federal law enforcement officer
          3. Use and carry of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence
          4. obstruction of the administration of Justice
          5. Interference with commerce by extortion
          6. Aiding and abetting

          We cannot just assume that the Bundys are guilty of crimes which they have not been charged with and convicted of, regardless of what we “know”.

        Barry in reply to Mac45. | December 21, 2017 at 2:21 pm

        “The facts in this case are clear and always have been.”

        Yea, should have been a $20 fine.

        BLM decided it should be the death penalty.

      It has been my understanding that once a trial has started, jurors seated and any testimony given, then jeopardy has attached. If that is the case then the declaration of a mistrial would mean that the charges alleged in this particular case would be dismissed with prejudice. That would not mean that other similar charges could not be filed by the Feds as that seems to be the modus operandi when the Feds have someone in their sights.

    neanderthal in reply to Mac45. | December 20, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    I don’t know the reason for the delay, but it seems likely that the judge allowed the case to proceed because the prosecutors claimed the documents were on the way, and would arrive before the trial.

    Maybe the delay was that the FBI and/or DOJ was resisting releasing the documents.

    Definitely a waste of time and resources to wait this long, though.

    Sopater in reply to Mac45. | January 2, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    The prosecution denied their existence and that is why they were never produced prior to Oct 1. However, testimony by U.S. Park Service Chief Investigator, Mary Hinson, and Mary Jo Rugwell, former head of the BLM district office in southern Nevada, indicated that the prosecution was not being truthful in their assertions, and that they were in fact suppressing this material evidence.

The smell of rot at the top of the FBI is becoming overpowering. As more of this comes out the more that is being exposed to the light of day.

    EEllis in reply to OldNuc. | December 20, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    Yeah to bad this has nothing to do with the FBI. This is the BLM enforcement, not civilian, and the us attorneys. The FBI didn’t investigate and they don’t prosecute.

      Tom Servo in reply to EEllis. | December 20, 2017 at 6:48 pm

      It just indicates the pervasive corruption that now has infected every federal law enforcement body.

      redc1c4 in reply to EEllis. | December 20, 2017 at 6:54 pm

      except for the part where the FBI provided sniper teams and surveillance equipment, which the BLM would have had to request & the FBI approve.

        OleDirtyBarrister in reply to redc1c4. | December 20, 2017 at 7:46 pm

        The FBI was indeed involved in the matter on the ground and the withholding of records.

        Navarro said she was dismayed to learn some 3,300 pages of previously undisclosed FBI and Bureau of Land Management records were turned over to defense attorneys since Oct. 10. The deadline had been Oct. 1 ahead of the trial that opened in mid-November.

      Who says the FBI wasn’t somehow involved in this? Remember, nose-picker eric holder was running the DOJ – the department the FBI is under, and the department the BLM brings its cases for prosecution.

      Speaking of al franken: Nose-picking in formal settings says about as much as about that person as a person who is proudly photographed grabbing both of an unconscious woman’s breasts on a military airplane:

      Only three public figures in high office in American history have ever had their photograph taken while picking their nose in a formal setting.

      barry soetoro aka barack hussein obama, at a press conference:

      hillary klinton, on the Senate floor:

      eric holda, at a Congressional hearing:

I think you are over thinking this Mac.

The prosecution should have turned the materials over full stop. They didn’t. New trial date set!

No one else to blame but the prosecution themselves.

OleDirtyBarrister | December 20, 2017 at 6:01 pm

It is possible the ADA’s did not know about the documents because the federal LEO’s withheld them.

I know, I know, it is hard to imagine that the fedgods including FBI and commissioned officers under the Dept. of Interior would lie, cheat, obfuscate, withhold, and steal to secure a conviction.

The prosecutors knew. The case should have been dismissed. It’s a persecution not a prosecution. The case is payback for resistance to tyranny.

    OleDirtyBarrister in reply to forksdad. | December 20, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    Breaking the laws the feds clearly have the right to promulgate for the management and protection of federal public lands and trespassing on federal lands as a freeloader is hardly a resistance to tyranny.

    The freeloading Bundy clan was grazing on public lands without a permit and without paying (for private commercial gain) when they could have been doing it on leased private land.

    Go hunting on federal lands without a permit (when one is required) or without a hunting license and see what happens to you. You will be before a federal judge too.

      The crime was minor compared to the tactics of the fed. This was a political persecution.

      Imagine if this kind of zeal was applied by the feds against wasserman-schultz and her IT boyfriend, hillary klinton, the border, eric holder, obama, etc, etc etc.?

      All that’s missing is bill clinton and janet reno, putting a machine gun to a child’s head:


        All Bundy had to do was remove his cattle from BLM controlled land when ordered to do so by the court. Now, the BLM is free to enforce that court order with any level of force that they choose, as a law abiding citizen would not obstruct the agents in the execution of the federal court order. But, in this case Bundy called for armed resistance to the lawful action of the federal agents. When the armed citizens appeared and threatened the agents numerous federal laws were violated, all of them felonies. At that point, the feds could legitimately use deadly force, including armored vehicles, snipers special response teams and just about any thing else that they wanted. it was only due to the forbearance of the federal authorities that such force was not used against the armed insurgents.

          forksdad in reply to Mac45. | December 20, 2017 at 11:51 pm

          Talk about the law? The fbi, blm etc have all broken the law in fact, everything they have done is far worse than anything their victims are accused of. That’s what you call someone you’ve committed a crime against, a victim correct?

          Soon as the Bundy’s keep a kill list and execute someone from ambush get back to me.

          Why in the world would you trust the feds version of events they’ve already lied to a judge?


          All Bundy had to do was…”

          Bend the knee. Surrender for the crime of poaching the King’s deer. Throw away his life’s work and declare bankruptcy. Abandon the improvements made on the land he had leased from the BLM for decades and watch it be turned into a turtle reserve, because somebody in BLM decided that turtles were more important. (Ok, the turtle comment is a little overblown, but you get it.)

          Most of the other ranchers did just that when BLM changed its stocking rates to something that no rancher could possibly afford. Why did they change the rate? That’s up for debate. Still, they did, and the result was a forced mass exodus of the cattle business out of an area it had existed in for most of a century or more. So did BLM do this with the intent of shoveling money to Harry Reid’s relatives? Kind of interesting that a man with a 200k salary is a multi-millionare now, just because he went to the Senate. Time, and the Inspector General, will tell.

          Probability of this being investigated by President Hillary: 0%
          Probability of this being investigated by the Trump administration: Better.

      I don’t care if they grazed or took a deer off season or if they built a Hoover dam in the Yellowstone.

      You don’t put in ringers urging violence, you don’t kill, you don’t lie about it all over any thing like this. Yes gloating about a kill list, lying about what happened and hiding evidence is tyranny.

      As far as I’m concerned the feds are tyranny. Everyday everyway it’s clearer and clearer.

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | December 20, 2017 at 6:34 pm

“…Against revelations of egregious prosecutorial misconduct, and withholding Brady evidence from the defense…

The not guilty verdicts in Oregon as well as these other instances of misconduct were all perpetrated while comey, rosenstein and mcCabe were in charge. There is more than one rotten apple in the fbi barrel!

One fbi agent in the Oregon debacle has been indicted for false reports, hiding evidence and outright lying.

Innocent people have been imprisoned, intimidated into plea bargains and have been financially ruined because of the blatant corruption under Obama and his lefty pals, which includes the governor of Oregon, who claimed the false charges were, “for a good cause.”

regulus arcturus | December 20, 2017 at 6:41 pm

Was Andrew Weissmann involved with this case?

Ted Stevens deja vu.

I am reading a book named, “Enemies Foreign and Domestic” by Matthew Bracken. I thought it was supposed to be fiction, not a government how to handbook.

Scary stuff.

In a state court with which I am familiar, the granting of a mistrial after the jury has been sworn results in the inability of the court to retry the case, unless the consent of the defendant is first obtained on the record.
The reasoning is that jeopardy has attached, and to retry the defendant would violate his constitutional right against double jeopardy, contained in the fifth amendment.

Not so good. Prosecutorial malfeasance gives them another shot at a conviction. Hardly negative reinforcement.

The reward for blatant malfeasance should be dismissal of charges. Otherwise there’s no disadvantage to the prosecution when it tries shabby tricks like this.

Should have dismissed, with prejudice.

This has been a major abuse of power.

Good people are dead. Some by suicide, some murdered by the federal government.

The process has been an enormous punishment already. Many, many lives have been destroyed.

The ONLY thing that should remain of this is a prosecution of all of the federal agents and prosecutors that have abused their positions and so grossly violated so many laws.

By far the most informative piece on this mess is from December 15 on Oregon Live. Maxine
Bernstein reports on the memorandum sent to the Justice Department’s Discovery Division by the man who was the BLM’s lead investigator until he blew the whistle on the inside shenanigans of the US Attorney’s Office and the BLM investigators, including the one who was lead on the Blanding, Utah case that caused the suicide of three locals accused, seemingly unjustly, of pot-hunting illegally. The article, written from the whistle-blower’s claims, makes your hair stand on end and it seems to have convinced the judge to grant mistrial, likely with prejudice, though that is a guess. The Oregonian, no friend of the Bundys, did cover the Malhuer Game Refuge takeover fairly and when there were no convictions, seemed to change its tune a bit and begin to dig deeper. There is a name that has only been whispered in connection with the case but that may soon be spoken out loud. Do the name Harry Reid strike a familiar note?

Whole thing happened on the treasonous gay Kenyan commie’s watch. It stinks.

Once again we see how the folks at legal insurrection condone and applaud white criminality.

Peacefully protesting black NFL players are viciously hated here and called all kinds of vile names. The folks at legal insurrection do this because you say you don’t like those black players “attacking” our police.

White Cliven Bundy and his son Ammon and their white militias point guns at and threaten to kill federal cops are applauded here and called patriots who are fighting against tyranny. 2 of their members ambush LVPD cops Soldo and Beck while eating pizza. Now they get a mistrial for threatening to kill cops and the applause continues.

Apparently it’s ok at legal insurrection for white militias to really attack police.

Yet you say you love our police.