The prosecution began wrapping up its case Monday morning by focusing on evidence recovered after the 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge ended. Testimony from FBI agents, as well as evidence entered into court, were used to make the prosecution’s case that guns were used to prevent employees from doing their jobs during the takeover.
This goes back to the charge the seven defendants face: Conspiracy to impede federal employees from doing their jobs through the use of intimidation, threats or force.
The prosecution introduced a bag containing more than 1,000 spent ammunition casings into evidence during testimony Monday morning. They also showed the jury video footage taken from occupier Jason Blomgren’s Facebook page that showed several of the occupiers firing weapons near the boat ramp at the refuge. FBI agents testified that the casings were recovered from that area.
The gun evidence today: 1 rifle, 5 empty gun cases, some photos of loaded magazines, a lotta ammo, a video of men shooting.— Amelia Templeton (@ameliaOPB) September 26, 2016
An empty black gun case w the name AMMON in block letters was found in refuge office building, FBI agent shows jury. #Oregonstandoff— Amelia Templeton (@ameliaOPB) September 26, 2016
Prosecutors also introduced a rifle that was found in the back of a horse trailer that belonged to Duane Ehmer, a fellow occupier currently awaiting trial. FBI agents testified that they found a maroon pouch underneath the seat in his truck that contained several items which belonged to the refuge, including gas cards, MasterCards and an employee’s ID.
FBI agent David Fallon testified for the prosecution that he found five gun cases when he searched an office building at the refuge. One of those gun cases, a black cloth case, had the name “Ammon” printed on it in block letters. But none of the gun cases recovered by the FBI had any guns inside. Although, investigators recovered numerous weapons in other locations around the refuge, which the prosecution is expected to show Tuesday.
Medenbach, Schindler’s client, was not present in court Monday. He waived his right to appear in court this week due to health reasons. Schindler said a routine scan turned up some results, and Medenbach is having follow-up testing done this week.
Finally, defendant Shawna Cox announced in court that she has filed a civil suit in Harney County. Brown told her that will likely be irrelevant in the present criminal case. Cox also asked Brown to strike certain court filings from the record. Brown refused to do so.
Outside the courtroom, Cox told OPB that the civil case she filed in Harney County concerns the ownership of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. That’s an issue that Brown has repeatedly ruled is not up for discussion in this criminal case.
The prosecution plans to wrap its case by end of day Tuesday. Prosecutors said the final evidence they plan to introduce before the jury is 22 long guns and 12 handguns that were discovered at the refuge.
The defense could begin making its case as soon as Wednesday. On Thursday, evangelical reverend Franklin Graham is expected to testify. Graham helped the FBI negotiate an end to the standoff when just four people remained there. The attorney for Jeff Banta — one of those four — has called Graham as a witness to testify to Banta’s state of mind at the time of the occupation.
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