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local | News | An Occupation In Eastern Oregon

Refuge Militants To Be Arraigned

Mark O. Hatfield Federal Building and Courthouse

Mark O. Hatfield Federal Building and Courthouse

April Baer/OPB

The leaders of the armed occupation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge are scheduled to be arraigned in federal court Wednesday morning.

Brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy, along with Ryan Payne, Pete Santilli and 12 other defendants will appear in a federal courtroom in downtown Portland. Most of the militants are appearing for arraignments, but Sandy Anderson and Jeff Banta will appear for status hearings.

It’s the initial appearance before trial judge Anna Brown.

Defendants will have the opportunity to hear the charges against them read in court.

So far, prosecutors in Oregon have filed a single conspiracy charge. They said the defendants impeded employees of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from doing their jobs. But with law enforcement now done collecting evidence at the refuge, it’s possible prosecutors could bring additional charges.

Legal experts said a typical federal case can take two or three years. Given the complexity and size of this case, the trial and any subsequent legal actions could take even longer.

Four of the defendants – the Bundy brothers, Payne and Santilli – also face federal felony charges in Nevada related to an armed standoff in 2014 with the Bureau of Land Management.

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