Siding with the government, a federal judge ruled Thursday that Ammon Bundy’s former attorney, Marcus Mumford, will go to trial before a judge, not a jury.
Mumford had asked U.S. District Court Judge John Coughenour to dismiss all three misdemeanor counts against him, stemming from an incident last fall where U.S. marshals tackled and used a stun gun on him after a jury acquitted Bundy.
In his ruling, Coughenour agreed to dismiss one of the misdemeanor counts against Mumford: creating disturbances by impeding or disrupting the performance of official duties.
Mumford has been charged with two other misdemeanors: failure to comply with signs of prohibitory, regulatory and directory nature, as well as failure to comply with lawful direction of a federal police officer.
The incident took place Oct. 27 on the ninth floor of the U.S. District Courthouse in downtown Portland, just after a jury acquitted Bundy and six others of federal conspiracy charges for their roles in the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
After the acquittals, Mumford argued Bundy should be set free. But since Bundy is also facing federal charges in Nevada, there were orders to hold him.
“What I’m saying is that the marshals have a hold — notice of a hold from Nevada — and you’re going to need to take up those issues with Nevada and the marshals. Not with me,” U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown, the presiding judge in the refuge trial, said to Mumford at the time.
According to court filings detailing the conversation, Mumford asked to see an arrest warrant.
“I’m happy to see that; but until I do, my instruction to him is he is free to leave,” Mumford replied to Brown.
“Well, he can do what he wishes, but he’s in the marshals’ custody right now, and he needs to go back with them right now to the jail because of the hold,” Brown said.
“No, he does not,” Mumford stated. “He is free.”
“Mr. Mumford, you can take it up to a higher court now. Take Mr. ---" Brown said, according to the transcript.
“He’s free, your honor,” Mumford interrupted.
“Mr. Mumford,” Brown said.
“He has beaten these --" Mumford said.
“Stand down,” a U.S. marshal said.
According to court filings, Brown then told everyone to back up.
“I’m not going to argue with you,” Brown told Mumford. “We are in recess.”
Video without sound released by the court Wednesday shows marshals close to and eventually surrounding Mumford.
Coughenour writes in his ruling that it appears Mumford “interfered with the Marshals taking his client into custody.”
Court filings show two marshals telling Mumford to come to the fourth floor so he can see the detainer.
“No. No. He is free right here and right now,” Mumford said.
Judge Brown tried to interrupt.
“He’s free right here and right now,” Mumford said again.
“Mr. Mumford, step back,” Brown ordered.
The video shows, and Coughenour’s ruling describes, several marshals tackling Mumford. One female officer used her stun gun on him, Coughenour wrote.
Mumford’s lawyer, Michael Levine, argued his client was “merely engaging in zealous advocacy,” before he was tackled, “which is what he’s supposed to do.”
U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Ohms responded to the defense’s claims by saying, “There are disputed facts,” and that the charges should not be dismissed. They argue Mumford was physically trying to block marshals from taking his client back into custody.
A three-day trial is expected to begin April 17.
OPB's Dave Blanchard contributed reporting.
This article was originally published at 2 p.m.
This article was updated at 4:38 p.m.