U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Jones revealed Friday that Ammon Bundy and other former Malheur refuge occupiers received “special accommodations” after complaining about jail conditions.
In a letter filed with the court, Jones said he made arrangements for Bundy and all other defendants in the case to meet with their attorneys in a “secure area of the courthouse.”
That followed the threat of a civil rights lawsuit by Ammon and Ryan Bundy, who complained to the court that they weren’t being given adequate resources to mount a defense to federal charges while they remained jailed in Multnomah County.
Both men, and 24 other defendants, were charged with carrying out an armed occupation earlier this year at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge as part of a conspiracy to prevent federal workers from doing their jobs.
“During such meetings defendants and their counsel and an investigator have internet and cell phone access and may review discovery electronically,” Jones wrote in Friday’s filing. “These meetings may be observed on screen by (U.S. Marshal Service) personnel but the conversations cannot be heard or recorded and are, for all practical purposes, unmonitored.”
These types of unmonitored meetings are not standard protocol for inmates housed in Multnomah County, according to jail staff and the Marshal Service.
Full Document: Judge Robert Jones Grants Special Meetings
Bundy and others had complained that their attorney-client privileges were being violated when they met in the county jail because those meetings are monitored.
Jones said he met with defense attorneys, the U.S. Marshals Service and jail staff from Multnomah County on June 22 to discuss an arrangement that would satisfy the defendants. Ammon Bundy’s attorneys, Marcus Mumford and J. Morgan Philpot, did not attend that meeting.
Jones said he kept the meeting “off the record” based on advice from the county and the U.S. Marshals Service.
Jones said those agencies suggested “special treatment might pose a danger to these defendants and influence other inmates at the jail to request similar privileges.”
Ongoing coverage of the federal case against the people involved in the 41-day armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and how life has changed in Harney County, Oregon.
“In June, under these arrangements, Ammon Bundy and Ryan Bundy were permitted to meet with each other and with their counsel and standby counsel for two full days in the Marshal’s lock up. They requested a third meeting which was arranged for July 19, 2016. The Marshal transported the defendants but their attorneys chose not to be present so I directed the Marshal to transport them back to the jail,” Jones wrote.
Jones did not explain why he decided to reveal the special arrangements for the Malheur occupiers, but he said the special meetings will continue to take place.
In addition to the Bundys, Jones noted that defendants Joseph O’Shaughnessy, Ryan Payne, Pete Santilli and Blaine Cooper have all used the arrangement to meet with their attorneys. All of those men, except for Santilli, have taken plea deals in the Oregon case.
Defendant David Fry has a scheduled meeting under the arrangement set for next week, according to Jones.