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Ammon Bundy and fellow militants hit with new federal indictment

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Participants in a six-week armed occupation at a U.S. wildlife refuge in Oregon have been indicted on fresh charges, including that they carried firearms in federal facilities and stole and damaged government property.

The indictment, returned by a federal grand jury on March 8 and unsealed on Wednesday as the anti-government protesters appeared in a federal court in Portland, supersedes an earlier indictment in the case.

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It adds new charges against protest leader Ammon Bundy and other sympathizers who were indicted last month of conspiring to impede federal officers policing the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge during a long-simmering fight over land rights.

The takeover, which began on Jan. 2 with at least a dozen armed men, was sparked by the return to prison of two Oregon ranchers convicted of setting fires that spread to federal property in the vicinity of the refuge.

It also marked the latest flare-up in the so-called Sagebrush Rebellion, a decades-old conflict over federal control of millions of acres in the West.

On Tuesday, a county prosecutor said protest leader Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, who was fatally shot by Oregon State Police in late January during a traffic stop, was struck three times in the back during the incident. The prosecutor deemed the slaying “justified and necessary.”

The superseding indictment lists 26 defendants. Each is charged with the initial charge of conspiring to impede federal agents. It newly accuses some of the protesters of: possession of firearms and dangerous weapons in federal facilities, use and carry of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, and depredation of government property.

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That last charge was leveled against protester Sean Anderson and another sympathizer, whose name has been redacted from court documents. It alleges the pair damaged an archeological site considered sacred to the Burns Paiute Tribe through the use of excavation and heavy equipment.

The FBI has said it was working with the Tribe to identify damage to the tribe’s artifacts and sacred burial grounds during the 41-day occupation.

Three armed occupiers were also indicted on charges of theft of government property, including a 2012 Ford F-350 Truck and cameras and related equipment.

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A lawyer for Ammon Bundy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle)


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Trump security advisor goes off on Antifa rant to duck grilling on president’s ‘vicious dogs’ protester threat

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Appearing on CNN's "State of the Union" with Jake Tapper, White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien ducked directly defending the president's Saturday threat to use "vicious dogs and ominous weapons" of Washington D.C. protesters, by instead talking about supposed Antifa activity during the George Floyd protests.

After reading the president's tweet, host Tapper pressed,  "Do you think messages like that are helping to unite the country and calm fears?”

With O'Brien noting, "[Trump] was trying to de-escalate. He didn’t want violence, he’s trying to stop the violence that we saw that took place overnight," he then went on to drag in reports being pushed by Donald Trump's administration that Antifa -- which he mentioned frequently during the entire interview -- had taken over the protests.

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WATCH: NYC cop filmed pulling down Black protester’s mask so he can pepper spray him in the face

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In a video posted to Twitter by Anju J. Rupchandani, a man she claimed was her nephew had his protective COVID-19 mask pulled down by a New York City police officer so that he could spray him in the face at close range with pepper spray.

In the video, the  young man can be seen with his hands in the air and making no move towards the white officer who suddenly reaches out to yank down the mask and blast him with the noxious spray.

As Rupchandani wrote, "I am heartbroken and disgusted to see one of my family members a young black man w/his hands up peacefully protesting and an NYPD officer pulls down his mask and pepper sprays him.

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Atlanta mayor levels Trump for comments taunting George Floyd protesters: He’s ‘making it worse’

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Appearing on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday morning after yet another night of protests rocked her city, the mayor of Atlanta bluntly told Donald Trump to keep his mouth shut about the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers and the protests that have followed.

Speaking with host Jake Tapper, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms was asked about comments the president has been making on Twitter about the protestors which have included threats of using "vicious dogs" and "ominous weapons."

"President Trump has been tweeting about the violent protests across the country. he vowed to step in and use, quote, 'the unlimited power of our military' and he suggested local officials should, quote, 'get tough and fight.' He's also talked about threatening 'the most vicious dogs and most ominous weapons I have ever seen' to use against protesters in Washington, D.C.," host Tapper began. "What do you make of the way the president has handled this crisis?"

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