An Occupation In Eastern Oregon

Judge Denies Motion By Ammon Bundy's Lawyer For Mistrial

By Amelia Templeton (OPB)
Sept. 16, 2016 5:44 p.m.

During the trial of the Malheur refuge occupiers, Judge Anna Brown denied Ammon Bundy’s attorney Marcus Mumford's motion for a mistrial.


Brown also denied his request to give instructions to the jury identifying the government's witnesses as biased.

Mumford argued that two of the government's witnesses introduced information that was prejudicial against his client and that it was not admissible and hadn't responded to the questions he'd posed.

But Judge Brown ruled that Mumford's cross examination questions were sometimes confusing or unclear and that the witnesses had just been responding to questions he'd asked.

The government called Bureau of Land Management Special Agent Jason Curry to testify, who described surveillance video that showed Kenneth Medenbach, Ryan Bundy and two unidentified people attaching signs to the BLM office in Hines, Oregon near Burns.

The signs said that the office was closed permanently.

Related: Manager of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Testifies At Trial

Earlier Friday, prosecutors introduced a considerable amount of evidence from Facebook.

That evidence included more than 300,000 pages that included videos, photos and private and public messages involving the defendants.


The most interesting evidence came in the form of private Facebook messages Ammon Bundy exchanged with others.

In one example, activist Gavin Seim messaged Ammon Bundy saying, “I'm getting conflicting messages on the 2nd. On the one hand it's being called a rally and protest. On the other hand it's being called a call to action. Can you clarify that?"

Ammon Bundy replied, "I would never show up to a rally without my arms."

In a second exchange, Brandon Thomas wrote to Bundy, "I am seeing a contradiction."

Thomas explained that some patriot groups were saying that the meeting was just a protest or a rally and others were advertising it as a call to action.

"I think you ought to make it more clear, that people should not take this as a green light to stand against the feds like was done at your family's ranch," Thomas wrote.

Related: Listen: OPB's 'This Land Is Our Land' Podcast

In response to that message, Ammon Bundy responded, "It is much more than a protest."

Finally, in a private Facebook message to Jason Blomgren, Bundy said, "Everything is here to make a stand, the facility and the food are good."

The government used the evidence to try to push back against the defense argument that this was merely a protest and it's protected as Freedom of speech.

At the start of the day, prosecutors and the defense reached a surprise agreement to limit testimony related to the 2014 Bunkerville standoff at Cliven Bundy's ranch in Nevada.

The government agreed not to call a witness they were planning to use to lay out what happened in the Nevada standoff. Cliven Bundy's sons, Ammon and Ryan, are on trial in Portland for their participation in the Malheur occupation.

Defense attorneys asked Judge Brown to clarify for the jurors that three of the defendants, David Fry, Kenneth Medenbach and Jeff Banta, were not present at the Bunkerville standoff.

The government called Jeffrey Rose, the BLM district manager for Harney County, to testify.  He described his decision to close the BLM office in Hines, near Burns, for more than a month.

Rose said he reached that decision after seeing videos posted online calling for people to come to town, and after watching many armed men arrive in the Burns area.

The prosecution said next week they plan to call employees of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to testify. They expect their case could rest by the end of September.

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