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US judge warns of mistrial in Nevada rancher Bundy’s trial

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A U.S. federal judge in the criminal conspiracy trial of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and three other men on Monday warned that prosecutors’ failure to produce documents that could support defense arguments could lead to a mistrial.

The four men, including two of Bundy’s sons Ammon and Ryan, are accused of conspiring to use the threat of force in a 2014 armed standoff with federal agents near Bundy’s ranch. It galvanized right-wing militia groups challenging U.S. government authority over public lands in the American West.

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The revolt was sparked by the court-ordered roundup of Bundy’s cattle by government agents over his refusal to pay fees required to graze the herd on federal land.

U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro on Monday sent the jury home until Wednesday and then read a lengthy list of documents previously undisclosed by prosecutors that could be used to impeach government witnesses or otherwise bolster defense attorneys’ arguments that their clients felt surrounded by government snipers prior to the standoff.

Some were produced so late they violated the federal evidence discovery rules, Navarro said, and as a result could lead her to strike witness testimony, call for a continuance or order a mistrial.

The information would possibly “undermine the confidence in the outcome of the trial,” said Navarro.

“The court is inclined to find that this information was not timely provided,” she added.

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Navarro ordered a sealed hearing to discuss 14 outstanding evidence issues arising from a series of motions to dismiss the case made by the defense.

Prosecutors previously downplayed the presence of FBI surveillance cameras placed outside the Bundy Ranch near Bunkerville, about 79 miles (120 km) northeast of Las Vegas. The documents include FBI memos that clarified the agency’s support role in the standoff.

One FBI memo noted that an FBI agent carried an AR-15 assault-style weapon, which Navarro said would likely aid defense arguments that the defendants felt endangered by government “snipers.” Navarro also noted the existence of government surveillance logs.

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The reports and threat assessments of local and federal joint terrorism tasks forces were also not turned over by the prosecution, Navarro said.

Last week a detention hearing was held for the final four defendants in the standoff case, whose trial has been delayed for nearly one year. That would mark the third group of defendants on trial related to the standoff.

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U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen ordered the conditional release of Cliven Bundy’s sons Dave and Melvin Bundy, Jason Woods and Joseph O’Shaugnessy, who are accused of being “mid-tier” participants in the standoff, according to the indictment. They have been detained for about 21 months.

Six lesser-known participants in the Nevada ranch showdown went on trial as a group earlier this year. Two men were found guilty, one of them sentenced to 68 years in prison. The other is awaiting sentencing.

(Reporting by John L. Smith; editing by Ben Klayman and Susan Thomas)

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2020 Election

2016 Trump campaign vets warn he’s ‘slipping badly’ in multiple swing states

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Two men who worked on President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign have warned the president that his position in swing states is significantly deteriorating amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Politico reports that former Trump campaign officials Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie delivered a face-to-face warning to the president that he was "slipping badly" in several key states, including must-win battlegrounds such as Florida and Arizona.

"Bossie and Lewandowski, who served as top aides on Trump’s 2016 effort, complained to the president about his political operation," the publication writes. "Trump’s campaign team, in response decided to rush their Arizona and Florida representatives onto airplanes for a Thursday meeting with the president."

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WSJ slams Trump for ‘hurting the country’ by ‘debasing’ the presidency: ‘Ugly even for him’

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President Donald Trump was slammed by the editorial board of the conservative Wall Street Journal on Tuesday evening.

“Donald Trump sometimes traffics in conspiracy theories—recall his innuendo in 2016 about Ted Cruz’s father and the JFK assassination—but his latest accusation against MSNBC host Joe Scarborough is ugly even for him,” the newspaper noted. “Mr. Trump has been tweeting the suggestion that Mr. Scarborough might have had something to do with the death in 2001 of a young woman who worked in his Florida office when Mr. Scarborough was a GOP Congressman.”

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‘We have them outnumbered’: Morning Joe explains why Trump’s ‘vile’ tweets don’t work on most people

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough explained why most Americans could not be dragged down to President Donald Trump's level, hurling angry attacks and ignoring scientific advice.

The "Morning Joe" host said the president's refusal to wear a mask and his murder allegations against him would fall flat with most Americans, because they didn't spend all day stoking their own anger on social media.

"Most Americans don't live in the gutters of Twitter," Scarborough said. "Most Americans don't live posting hateful things about people on Facebook. They talk about their loved ones, they talk about their faith in God, they talk about their children, their grandchildren. We have them outnumbered."

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