Feds beg for a fifth shot at prosecuting Bundy family after failing four times in a row

DCNFTim Pearce, DCNF

(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images

Federal prosecutors are asking an Arizona judge to give them another shot at convicting Cliven Bundy on charges related to a 2014 armed standoff between the rancher and federal agents, The Oregonian reports.

U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro dismissed charges against Bundy, his two sons and supporter Ryan Payne last month after finding federal prosecutors had lied to the court and hid exculpatory evidence that favored the defendants’ case. Navarro dismissed the case “with prejudice,” barring a retrial.

Prosecutors filed a motion Wednesday claiming Navarro dismissed them before considering a more appropriate solution to the civil rights violations that occurred during the trial last year, according to The Oregonian.

“This case has major ramifications for all public lands law enforcement officers,” the motion said. “Dismissing this entire case with prejudice, based on the government’s non-disclosure of mostly duplicative evidence of law enforcement’s pre-impoundment surveillance and preparation, would encourage the defendants, their supporters and the public to disrespect the law and the lawful orders of the courts.”

The four men were indicted on charges of conspiracy and threatening federal officers. The defendants claimed they acted in self-defense.

 

Before Navarro ended the trial in a mistrial, about 3,000 pages of stifled evidence were turned over to the court.

The evidence included defendants’ requests for multiple federal assessments that showed the Bundy family was likely not violent. Prosecutors called the requests part of a “long list of frivolous and vexatious pleadings,” until a government witness, under cross examination, revealed knowledge of the assessments in court, The Oregonian reports.

Defense attorneys had asked federal prosecutors to hand over Inspector General reports on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) agent Dan Love, who directed the BLM raid on the Bundy ranch to seize the family’s cattle over decades of unpaid grazing fees. Love was fired from the agency in September for corruption and unethical behavior.

Prosecutors had dismissed the allegations and investigations of Love as an “urban legend,” but ended up handing over 500 pages worth of reports on Love in December, according to The Oregonian.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions launched an investigation into prosecutorial misconduct after the mistrial.

While dismissing the case, Navarro called the “flagrant misconduct” of the team of prosecutors “outrageous” and “egregious.” The Bundy family believes the motion to retry them is pointless.

“Number one, the judge slammed them,” Ryan Bundy told The Oregonian. “It’s ridiculous to think anything could come of [the motion].”

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