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All defendants in the Oregon standoff found not guilty

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A federal court jury on Thursday acquitted anti-government militant leader Ammon Bundy and six followers of conspiracy charges stemming from their role in the armed takeover of a U.S. wildlife center in Oregon earlier this year.

Bundy and others, including his brother and co-defendant Ryan Bundy, cast the 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge as a legitimate and patriotic act of civil disobedience. Prosecutors called it a lawless scheme to seize federal property by force.

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(READ MORE: Ammon Bundy’s attorney Tased and arrested after Oregon standoff verdict)

In an emotional climax to the trial in U.S. District Court in Portland, Ammon Bundy’s lawyer, Marcus Mumford, was tackled to the floor by U.S. marshals as he became involved in a heated verbal exchange with the judge over the terms of his client’s release.

Moments earlier, gasps of astonishment rose from the packed courtroom. Attorneys exchanged looks of excitement with the defendants, then hugged their clients as the not-guilty verdicts were read. Family members and supporters of the accused erupted in jubilation.

Outside the courthouse, supporters celebrated by shouting “Hallelujah” and reading passes from the U.S. Constitution. One man road his horse, named Lady Liberty, in front of the courthouse carrying an American flag.

The verdict came hours after a newly reconstituted jury, with an alternate seated to replace one panelist dismissed over questions of bias on Wednesday, renewed deliberations in the case. Jurors previously had deliberated over three days.

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The 12-member panel found the Bundy brothers and their four co-defendants – three men and a woman – not guilty of the most serious charge, conspiracy to impede federal officers through intimidation, threats or force.

That charge alone carried a maximum penalty of six years in prison.

The defendants also were unanimously acquitted of illegal possession of firearms in a federal facility and of theft of government property, except in the case of Ryan Bundy, for whom jurors deadlocked on the charge of theft.

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During the takeover and at trial, the occupiers said they acted out of solidarity with two Oregon ranchers they believed were unfairly treated in an arson case and to protest their larger grievances against federal control over millions of acres of public lands in the West.

(READ MORE: ‘Sad day for America’: Internet furious about #OregonStandoff verdict vs. treatment of #BlackLivesMatter and #StandingRock)

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ONE DEATH

The standoff led to the shooting death of one protester by police and left parts of the refuge badly damaged.

While a number of self-styled militia groups had rallied to Bundy’s cause, the occupation generated little sympathy from authorities in nearby Harney County. The sheriff called on the group to end its siege peacefully just after three days, telling them, “It’s time for you to leave our community.”

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As the protest wore on, the occupiers drew ridicule on social media and anonymous deliveries of sex toys, glitter and nail polish at the compound.

More than two dozen people, in all, have been criminally charged in the Malheur occupation, and a second group of defendants is due to stand trial in February.

The Bundy brothers still face assault, conspiracy and other charges stemming from a separate armed standoff in 2014 at the Nevada ranch of their father, Cliven Bundy.

How soon any of the seven defendants from the trial concluded on Thursday would be released was not immediately clear.

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(Reporting by Scott Bransford in Portland; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Sandra Maler and Cynthia Osterman)


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House Republicans have 3 key defenses of Trump’s Ukraine extortion campaign — and they’re all terrible

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To any halfway objective observer, the first day of public hearings in House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, which are ongoing as of this writing, have not gone well for Trump’s defenders.

Bill Taylor, the top US ambassador in Kyiv, and veteran State Department official George Kent came off as principled and non-partisan as they delivered damning testimony about the Trump regime’s multifaceted campaign to coerce the Ukrainian government to announce an investigation into fringe right-wing conspiracy theories designed to deflect blame for interfering in the 2016 election from Russia and onto Ukraine.

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Progressives hilariously ridicule Donald Trump Jr.’s new book with their own Trump triggers #TriggerDonaldTrumpJr

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President Donald Trump's eldest child and namesake has published a book about liberals he says are "triggered" by conservatives. Ironically, it seems Donald Trump Jr. is the one who seems to be triggered by the reception he's getting from some on his book tour.

The hashtag, #TriggerDonaldTrumpJr has nothing to do with Jr's new book, rather it's progressives using his book title to mock the Trump child. Internet users were torn between mocking the young Trump for desperately trying to get his father's attention, scrambling to seem relevant, trying to launch his own political career, trying to make his own money and so much more.

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‘Blather and hysteria’: Conservative columnist explains why GOP anti-impeachment ‘antics’ just crashed and burned

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devin nunes defeat

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Rep. Devin Nunes of California and other House Republicans were clearly trying to rally the Trumpian base on Wednesday, when the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump offered its first public testimony. Jordan and Nunes aggressively tried to discredit the inquiry and the two witnesses who testified: diplomat William B. Taylor (U.S. ambassador to Ukraine) and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George P. Kent. But conservative Washington Post opinion writer Jennifer Rubin, in a Wednesday column, stressed that House Republicans — for all their “antics and conspiracy theories” — failed to show why Trump shouldn’t be impeached, while House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff and other House Democrats showed why he should.

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