A self-styled reporter sympathetic to Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation is asking to be released from custody until his trial on a federal weapons charge.
Michael Emry, 54, was arrested at his camper trailer in Grant County in May.
He’s charged with illegally possessing a machine gun that isn’t registered to him and obliterating the serial number. Emry admitted that he had stolen the gun from his former employer, Jim Weaver, without his consent.
Emry pleaded not guilty to the charges shortly after his arrest, and a judge detained him because the judge determined he was a flight risk and a danger to the community. Emry’s attorney, Eugene-based Mark Sabitt, argued in a motion filed Friday that his client should be released until his trial, as he is not a threat to the community and has established consistent employment in Crescent, Oregon.
Sabitt asserts that Emry, an Army and Navy veteran, was cooperative with FBI agents and told them where to find the M2 machine gun in his trailer, according to the court filing. Sabitt argues that the gun was not fully functional and lacked critical artillery for the gun to work properly.
The court filing also suggests the confidential witness who described Emry’s intentions for the M2 is a person who is “a felon and a known liar.” Sabitt argued that the government’s evidence against Emry is based upon statements from that witness.
Investigators have also said that Emry could pose a threat to the witness if he were released, based on statements he made on a jail phone while in custody.
Sabitt argues in the filing that Emry’s release doesn’t pose a threat to the informant because he would be returning to his home in Crescent – approximately 150 miles away from the informant. Sabitt also suggests that if his client is released his conditions could prohibit him from traveling to Grant County or contacting the witness.
Emry moved to Oregon just prior to the occupation and created a pro-Bundy blog called “The Voice of Grant County.” He regularly embedded with the self-styled patriot group III% of Idaho and was a constant during the 41-day occupation. Emry regularly described himself as a reporter.
A July 11 status hearing is set for Emry in federal court in Eugene.