A judge at the federal courthouse in Portland Friday denied bail to five of the militants arrested near Burns earlier this week in connection with the armed occupation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
Though only five were detained, all of the militants who appeared in court will remain in custody through at least Tuesday.
Judge Stacie Beckerman denied bail to both Ammon and Ryan Bundy, saying both defendants are a flight risk and a danger to the community. Beckerman also denied bail for Ryan Payne.
“In many respects, Mr. (Ammon) Bundy would appear an ideal candidate for release,” U.S. Attorney Ethan Knight told the court Friday.
But after “peeling back the layers,” Knight said Bundy is a flight risk and dangerous. He said Bundy was the leader of a conspiracy that involved the use of intimidation and force.
“He is simply not a viable candidate for release, looking at either his risk to the community or danger of flight,” Knight told the court.
One of Ammon Bundy’s lawyers, Lissa Casey, argued the occupation wasn’t a violent attempt to overthrow the government.
“We don’t agree with the prosecution that he is a danger,” said Casey.
She said that Bundy wants to return to his Idaho home.
“He doesn’t even own a passport,” she said. “The only place Mr. Bundy wants to be is home with his wife and children.”
Bundy’s lawyers tried to distance him from the ongoing occupation at the refuge, where four armed militants remain in an at times tense standoff with the FBI. Casey said when she told Bundy about holdout David Fry, he said he didn’t know who that was.
Over the past two days, Bundy has also issued statements through his lawyers asking the remaining militants to leave the refuge.
“I have asked those people at the refuge to go home,” Bundy told the court. “This was never about an armed standoff.”
Ultimately, Judge Beckerman was not convinced. She said Bundy and the occupiers knowingly broke the law and only left the Malheur Refuge after they were arrested.
“There are no conditions I could impose that would guarantee the safety of the community or that he would come back to the district of Oregon for trial,” Beckerman said. “I reject the argument that this was just a peaceful occupation.”
After the ruling, Bundy stood up. While walking toward the door leading back to detention, he looked over his shoulder to his wife, Lisa Bundy, in the second row, her eyes filled with tears.
“It would be impossible for anyone – including your honor – to get on that refuge right now,” said Andrew Bates, the criminal defense attorney representing Ryan Bundy.
FBI agents in Harney County have blocked the roads in and out of the refuge.
Bates argued Ryan Bundy, a father of eight, has lived most of his life within a 100-mile radius and has little criminal history.
“The only violence in this entire case has been perpetrated by the government,” Bates said, before bringing up deceased militant spokesman LaVoy Finicum. “You’re right someone died — at the hands of the police.”
In addition to Payne and the Bundy brothers, Beckerman also denied bail for Dylan “Captain Moroni” Anderson and Jason Patrick.
The judge granted bail to defendants Joseph O’Shaughnessy and Shawna Cox, but federal prosecutors appealed the decision. As a result, a ruling in their hearings has been stayed until Tuesday.
Beckerman made no decision by the close of court for conservative Ohio radio host Pete Santilli, who spent much of the occupation being a mouthpiece for the militants and hosting an online radio show – some of which prosecutors are using as evidence against the defendants.
The judge said she needed more time to review his case.
Two other militants, Brian “Booda” Cavalier and Oregon resident Duane Ehmer, did not have detention hearings Friday because they had not met with their attorneys yet.
At their initial court appearances earlier this week, most of the militants’ defense lawyers asked that their clients be released from detention.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for next Wednesday, where federal prosecutors will lay out their case against the armed occupiers.