An Occupation In Eastern Oregon

Prosecutors To Pursue 2nd Oregon Standoff Trial

By Conrad Wilson (OPB) and Amelia Templeton (OPB)
Dec. 12, 2016 11:30 p.m.

Federal prosecutors plan to move forward with a second trial for defendants accused of conspiring to prevent federal employees from doing their jobs at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge earlier this year.


Related: An Occupation In Eastern Oregon

In addition to the federal felony charges already brought in the case, prosecutors plan to add several misdemeanor charges against seven defendants.

In October, a jury acquitted seven defendants – including occupation leaders Ammon and Ryan Bundy — of the same felony charges prosecutors plan to proceed with in February.


Defense attorneys denounced the government's decision to move forward with a second trial.

“In my view, it defies logic that they could profess respect for the jury’s verdict in the first trial, and yet still be pursuing charges, and indeed more charges, against the lesser players in the second trial," said Jesse Merrithew, the attorney for defendant Jake Ryan.

The upcoming trial against Ryan, Jason Patrick, Duane Ehmer, Dylan Anderson, Sean Anderson, Sandy Anderson, and Darryl Thorn could also see the government charging several Class B misdemeanors, including trespassing, tampering with vehicles and equipment and destruction of property.

Prosecutors declined to comment on the decision to continue to pursue the conspiracy charge for a second time. Following the acquittal, a juror told the Oregonian that prosecutors didn't have enough evidence to prove an agreement existed to prevent federal employees at the refuge from doing their jobs.

"The government anticipates that its case-in-chief will last approximately a week and a half," Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Gabriel wrote in Monday's filing. "Defendants anticipate that their case-in-chief will last no longer than two and a half weeks."

A major issue for the defense and prosecutors is finding jurors who haven't formed an opinion about the wildly publicized armed occupation, trial and unexpected acquittal.

"The public has decided that the result that the first jury reached was wrong," Merrithew said. "That’s a more direct prejudice to our clients that we’re going to have to deal with in the second trial.”

The upcoming trial is set to begin Feb. 14, but in Monday's joint filing, prosecutors asked U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown to delay the trial by 60 days.