Federal prosecutors managing the government’s case against Ammon Bundy and other militants involved in an armed takeover of an Oregon wildlife refuge filed a sealed indictment against the militants Wednesday.
The prosecutors brought the indictment to Magistrate Judge Janice Stewart during a hearing in federal court Wednesday. Defense attorneys stated they had not seen the indictment before the proceeding. Stewart ordered prosecutors to turn over a copy of the document to defense attorneys within the next 24 hours.
“I think we should be able to see the charges the government is alleging against our client,” said Mike Arnold, the lead defense attorney for Ammon Bundy following the hearing in downtown Portland. “I think we should be able to see them now.”
Bundy and several other militants had been scheduled to appear in court for a pretrial hearing Wednesday, but those hearings were stricken from the court docket hours before they were scheduled to happen.
Prosecutors said Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy, Ryan Payne and other militants are named in the indictment.
Federal prosecutor Geoff Barrow told the Associated Press the indictment involves the 11 people arrested so far “and others.”
“There are likely other people who are included that they don’t want to revel yet,” said Lisa Hay, an attorney in the federal public defender’s office.
She said the pretrial hearing would’ve been an opportunity for defense attorneys to question law enforcement about their statements made in criminal complaints. Hay said there have been questions raised by other attorneys about the accuracy of some of the statements in the criminal complaint.
“You only have the right to have the officer take the stand on a criminal compliant,” Hay said referring to the cancelled hearing. “Now that there’s an indictment, that means in theory that the government presented evidence to a grand jury that found there was probable cause to bring a criminal charge against them.”
Because the indictment handed down is sealed, the details of the charges are not available. The document could be partially unsealed within the next 24 hours.
An attorney for Shawna Cox said her clients wanted to attend the funeral of deceased militant Robert LaVoy Finicum on Friday in Utah. Under the conditions of her release, Cox is not allowed to communicate with co-conspirators. The judge denied Cox’s request.
As of Wednesday, four armed militants remain engaged in a standoff with federal law enforcement at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
Two militants, Duane Ehmer and Brian Cavalier, have their initial detention hearings in Portland Thursday afternoon. Internet radio talk show host Pete Santilli, who prosecutors say is also part of the occupation, has the continuation of his appealed detention hearing late Thursday.
Ammon Bundy and other armed occupiers have arraignments scheduled for Feb. 24.