Ammon Bundy slapped with defamation suit by Idaho hospital his ally accused of 'child trafficking'
Ammon Bundy, leader of the armed anti-government militia at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters near Burns, Oregon, January 5, 2016 (AFP Photo/Rob Kerr)

An Idaho health care network has sued gubernatorial candidate Ammon Bundy and his right-wing associates after a protest they organized forced a hospital into lockdown.

St. Luke’s Health System filed the defamation lawsuit Wednesday against Bundy, his campaign, his People's Rights Network and Diego Rodriguez, whose 10-month-old grandson's custody case prompted the protest at the hospital in Boise, reported Oregon Live.

Rodriguez's grandson had been temporarily removed from his family's custody in March after officials found the baby was at risk of injury or death from "severe malnourishment,” but his parents refused to let police check his welfare after canceling a medical appointment.

Bundy was arrested the following day on a misdemeanor trespassing charge after protesting at another hospital, where he mistakenly believed the baby was being treated, and he directed his followers to protest there and outside the homes of child protection service workers, law enforcement officers and others involved in the case.

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Rodriguez accused government workers and others involved in the case of kidnapping the boy and being involved in "child trafficking," and the lawsuit also names his website Freedom Man Press and the Freedom Man political action committee as defendants.

The hospital went into lockdown for more than an hour, which disrupted emergency treatments, and hospital officials said the protest posed a safety risk to patients, and St. Luke’s Health System alleged that Bundy and Rodriguez made false accusations against health care providers, the Department of Health and Welfare, law enforcement officials.

“They realized the facts surrounding DHW’s intervention could be mischaracterized as a governmental conspiracy to kidnap, traffic and kill children,” the hospital system’s attorney wrote in the lawsuit. “Then, in turn, Defendants realized they could establish themselves as crusaders against their falsely manufactured governmental conspiracy.”

That false narrative, according to the lawsuit, was intended to generate interest in Bundy's gubernatorial campaign and generate donations toward both men, and the complaint seeks $50,000 in damages plus legal fees that would be donated to the Children At Risk Evaluation Service.