A federal judge has ruled that conspiracy and firearms possession in a federal facility charges against occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge will stand.
Defense attorneys argued some of the charges were broad, vague or unconstitutional in a May 23 court hearing.
The charges in question included conspiracy to impede federal employees and the use or carry of a firearm in a violent crime. Defense lawyers said federal prosecutors have applied the statute to the occupation when it was actually intended to be used in crimes such as armed robberies.
Judge Anna Brown dismissed the defense motions but has yet to rule on the firearms charge, which carries the most severe penalty, according to court documents filed Friday.
Brown disagreed with defense attorney Amy Baggio’s assertion that the conspiracy charge is unconstitutionally vague, saying it “does not regulate or chill speech otherwise protected by the First Amendment.”
Ammon Bundy and 25 other defendants face numerous charges in the case, stemming from the 41-day occupation of a wildlife refuge in Harney County. A trial is set to begin Sept. 7.