An Occupation In Eastern Oregon

Malheur Refuge Employees To Testify About Life During The Occupation

By Bryan M. Vance (OPB)
Sept. 19, 2016 12 p.m.

Prosecutors in the trial of seven people who occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge have one main goal: to prove that the defendants conspired to obstruct federal employees from doing their jobs through force, intimidation or threats.

Related: Refuge Employees, Occupation Supporter Take Stand In Malheur Refuge Trial


During the first week of the trial, the prosecution focused on the build up to the occupation and the initial takeover.

Through testimony from Harney County Sheriff David Ward

and occupation sympathizer Butch Eaton, the prosecution laid out their series of events up to and during the first moments of what would become a 41-day seizure.

As the trial enters its second week, the prosecution turns to the occupation itself. To do so, the government will rely on the testimony of refuge employees, several of whom are scheduled to testify Monday.


Related: Judge Denies Motion By Ammon Bundy's Lawyer For Mistrial

While this may seem boring on the surface, it's arguably the most important part of the government's case. The seven defendants are accused of preventing federal employees' from doing their jobs. Prosecutors aim to illustrate just how the occupiers did that.

Also last week, Judge Anna Brown denied a motion from Ammon Bundy's attorney, Marcus Mumford, to declare a mistrial.

OPB's Conrad Wilson will be in court again this week to provide the latest updates. Be sure to follow him on Twitter.

Have you heard OPB's new podcast all about the Malheur refuge occupation trial, "This Land Is Our Land?" Each week, OPB reporters and outside experts provide trial recaps, in-depth analysis and insight into the legal process of this case, and the broader political and philosophical issues at play. On the most recent episode, reporter Amanda Peacher heads back to Harney County to hear from community leaders and residents on life after the occupation.

Subscribe to “This Land Is Our Land” on NPR One, iTunes or wherever you find your podcasts. Find comprehensive trial coverage at

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