Attorneys for Ryan Payne, one of the leaders of the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, are working to reverse his guilty plea.
In a court filing Friday, Payne’s attorneys said the government didn’t provide Payne with key information before he pleaded guilty, specifically detailed reports about the use of confidential informants.
Payne pleaded guilty in July to a felony: conspiring to prevent federal employees from doing their jobs at the wildlife refuge near Burns, Oregon.
Ammon and Ryan Bundy, Payne and others helped lead a 41-day armed occupation at the refuge that began in early January.
The Bundys and five other occupiers were acquitted of conspiracy charges Oct. 27.
Payne’s attorneys said in the filing they didn’t have enough detail about law enforcement’s use of confidential enforcement at the time Payne pleaded guilty.
Payne’s attorneys knew the government used informants. But in their court filings, they said they didn’t know how many the government used and, in some cases, their identities.
The attorneys said they should have known “the number of informants who were paid” and “the amount they were paid” before agreeing to a plea deal.
Several of those details came up at recent trial of occupation leaders. Federal prosecutors revealed the FBI had 15 confidential informants during the occupation – including one who ran a firing range.
Prosecutors have said U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown should not reverse Payne’s guilty plea.