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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
Trump makes his closing pitch to ‘suburban housewives’ at rally: ‘Women, I like women — I like women!’
President Donald J. Trump made his closing pitch to who he called "suburban housewives" at his Arizona rally Monday. He bellowed, "Women, I like women -- I like women!" in a classic Trumpian move while his supporters cheered.
"Listen, here's the story. They said 'suburban women' -- I used to call them 'suburban housewives,' I got killed all the time. I said, 'ugh, I better go politically correct.' Is there one woman here who minds being called, if you're married at least, a 'suburban housewife' 'cause..."
The crowd erupted with "No!"
"The only ones who mind are those characters... there's a lot of people up there - the press, right? Those are the only ones. The rest of them don't."
‘Backing out again?’: Trump ridiculed for trying to ‘wimp’ out of debate with whiny letter about the topics
President Donald Trump's campaign manager Bill Stepien sent a long, rambling letter to the Presidential Debate Commission attacking them for being all-in for Vice President Joe Biden and demanding that they change the debate topics.
Moderator Kristen Welker said that the topics they intend to discuss will be fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, issues facing American families, race in America, climate change, national security and leadership in general. Stepien complained that "national security" or "leadership" doesn't have enough to do with foreign policy as he would prefer.
Trump says he could raise $1 billion in a single day — he just doesn’t want to
Speaking at a rally in Prescott, Arizona, this Monday, President Trump gave an excuse as to why he's not matching Joe Biden when it comes to fundraising, saying that he'd be "the greatest fundraiser in history" -- all he'd have to do it call up every Wall Street firm and major company in the U.S.
"I would take in more money, but you know what? I don't want to do that, because if I do that I'm totally compromised -- because when they call me, you know, you're a loyal person and what happens, is, hey -- you'll do things..." Trump said.
Watch the video below: