Ammon Bundy fails to show up in court again in defamation case

By James Dawson (Boise State Public Radio)
Nov. 14, 2023 4:31 p.m.

Ammon Bundy has once again failed to appear in court regarding defamation charges brought by St. Luke’s Health System. He sent an email to a district court judge saying he would also refuse to appear in the future.

Ada County Judge Nancy Baskin issued another warrant for Bundy after his failure to appear, setting bail at $250,000.

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Ammon Bundy at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Jan. 3, 2016. Bundy began testimony in the trial of seven occupiers of the Malheur refuge Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016.

Ammon Bundy, shown at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in this Jan. 3, 2016 file photo, has again failed to appear in court regarding defamation charges brought by St. Luke's Health System.

Amanda Peacher / OPB

“I have much more important matters to attend to...” Bundy wrote in the email to Baskin.

In August, the court ordered Bundy and his co-defendants to pay St. Luke’s nearly $52 million in damages for their defamatory statements.

St. Luke’s said Bundy has continued to attack the hospital’s reputation despite a court injunction ordering him to remove 18 months worth of statements he’s made on the internet.

Bundy had been scheduled to face contempt charges in the case during a trial this week, as the hospital system said he’s continued to attack it online.

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He also repeatedly refused to show up to prior hearings.

Monday’s events come after Baskin delayed a hearing earlier in the year at Bundy’s request so he could harvest his crops.

“I am shocked that he has sent this email thinking he can simply decide he can just not appear,” said Baskin. “Mr. Bundy does not seem to understand that the court calendar is not his calendar.”

She also ordered his original $10,000 bond forfeited.

“There needs to be a message sent by a court,” Baskin said of the new bail amount. “This court is doing everything in its power to protect Mr. Bundy’s rights.”

Lawyers for the hospital filed court documents saying he’s been hiding his assets in a series of corporations or with friends.

Bundy’s co-defendant, Diego Rodriguez, appealed the ruling to the Idaho Supreme Court, which is currently considering the case.

The case began when Bundy and Rodriguez organized protests at St. Luke’s in 2022 after law enforcement seized Rodriguez’s grandchild over welfare concerns and transferred him to the hospital.

The protests led to a lockdown of the hospital’s downtown Boise campus and forced ambulances to be rerouted.

In an email, Bundy said he doesn’t regret his actions and asked for people to pray for his family. He did not answer a question related to his current whereabouts.

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