Mistrial

On Wednesday December 20, 2017 Judge Navarro said before a packed courtroom, “This court does regrettably believe a mistrial in this case is the most suitable and only remedy.” Navarro read off a list of violations committed by the prosecution including 493 pages of BLM internal documents concerning Dan Love. The report stated that there were no documented injuries to the endangered desert tortoise by cattle grazing on federal land. The desert tortoise endangered status was contrived by the BLM, and I expect environmentalist, to cancel Cliven Bundy’s grazing permit in 1993. It is also the reason 52 other ranchers in the valley were run out of business.

Navarro listed the violations she said prosecutors “deliberately withheld before trial,” which included the presents of an FBI surveillance camera and documents confirming snipers placed on a hill overlooking the Bundy ranch.
Ryan Bundy had asked in a pre-trial motion for information on the “mysterious” devices outside the ranch. The prosecution “mocked me,” said Ryan Bundy to Navarro when testifying that he had asked for the information months before trial was to begin.

The prosecution answered the request by calling it “fantastical” and a “fishing expedition.”
“The failure to turn over such evidence violates due process,” Navarro said. The judge also noted that the FBI was aware of this and did not share information about the camera until the defense heard a witness confirm its presents. “The government falsely represented the camera that was on the Bundy house was incidental, not purposeful,” she said.

Other evidence withheld were maps, an FBI log that mentions snipers on standby, at least 5 threat assessments done between 20011 and 2015 attesting that the Bundys were not violent and did not pose a threat if confronted. The Bundys would not likely use violence “and get in your face,” but not engage in a shootout.” Documents also showed the BLM was antagonizing the family “trying to provoke a conflict.” And there was the leaked 18 page Wooten document that was highly critical of Dan Love and the BLM that was not divulged during discovery.
The hidden evidence also reinforced Ryan Payne’s claim that he put a call out for support because the Bundys feared they were surrounded by snipers and felt isolated. This refutes that the defendants used “deceit” to draw supporters by” falsely” contending snipers were posted around their ranch, as the prosecution claimed.

Navarro also found that prosecutors withheld a March 3, 2015 FBI report that identified a BLM agent in tactical gear and carrying an AR-15 rifle outside the Bundy ranch on April 5 and April 6, 2014. She also cited an FBI log with three entries that said, “Snipers were inserted” and on “standby” outside the Bundy home.

The prosecution said it had been unaware because it was kept in a thumb drive in a tactical vehicle. “The government is still responsible for information from the investigating agency. The FBI chose not to disclose it,” Navarro said. She also noted, “The government’s strong resistance at prior trials that there were no sniper evidence was done knowingly.” This statement alone should go a long way in overturning prior convictions.

The prosecution released to the defense 3,300 pages of discovery between October 10th and December 15, 2017, long after the October 1st deadline set by the court. This is discovery willfully held back for the purpose of getting a conviction at all costs. This just goes to prove the government had no case.
Judge Navarro minced no words accusing the prosecution of “willfully” holding back evidence. She will make a final decision on whether the case should be a mistrial with prejudice in a future ruling, which means the case cannot be retried. Navarro previously indicated this could happen when she listed the 15 Brady and Giglio violations that caused her to reverse her decision to release the defendants for pre-trial.

“To have an actual order from the court or for her to say those things does bring a lot of vindication to us,” Ammon said while standing in front of the courthouse with his arm wrapped around his mother. “They came on us and provoked us and we acted appropriately.” He further stated, “I do not believe there is a jury in the country that will convict us. The truth is on our side. (Oregon Live, Mistrial declared in Cliven Bundy standoff case, Maxine Bernstein, Dec. 20, 2017)
While Arden Bundy was recording the Bundys at the compound fence on March 28, 2014 with his Go-Pro camera, another camera was out in the desert recording at the same time. Contract cowboys hired to roundup Bundy cattle had been staged off-site where they waited for the go-ahead to enter the compound. There was also a radio transcript saying that it was staged.

A reporter asked Ammon why his family was at the compound the day the contract cowboys came to gather their cattle, he replied, “Why was my family up there? Because channel 8 news asked if they could do a photo-op. Then right when my dad and my brothers are there, here comes the contract cowboys. You have to understand contract cowboys are hired by the government to destroy other people’s ranches. They know the BLM, the prosecutors know, what the ranchers have against contract cowboys. And it’s amazing that all of a sudden now here is this meeting between my father and brothers and contract cowboys, and it’s just odd that it was happenstance that the two were put together. Well, we found out during discovery that it wasn’t happenstance, that it was actually fabricated.

I don’t believe the contract cowboys knew about it though, that they were staged off-site, that they knew my father was there. I don’t know if they (BLM) knew if he was going to be there before or not, we have our suspicions, but they brought the contract cowboys in at the same time. They were covertly filming it out in the desert−the BLM was filming the whole incident in the desert. Well, so you have to ask, so why would they do that? Obviously, it appears, I mean, you think there’s enough evidence there to appear that they wanted a confrontation between Cliven Bundy and the contract cowboys and they wanted to film it so they could show the world they had an excuse to say, ‘look, Cliven Bundy is violent, Cliven Bundy’s sons are violent.’

“Then you ask, what did my family do? My dad took his cell phone out and took pictures of their license plates. And the only thing that was ever said, one of my brothers said, ‘Shame on you.’ and that was it, because we’re not violent people.”
Ammon was asked if he knew who ordered the contract cowboys. “All we have is a radio transcript that shows that they were staged and they were brought in knowing that Cliven Bundy was at the gate, and that they were filming the event, and that’s what we do know. The video has never been disclosed to us. It’s still exculpatory evidence. Those are the things still yet to be accessed. The video mentioned it twice in their transcripts, we still don’t have it.

After being asked what he thought about those who have pled guilty in the Malheur case or have been convicted and are now being sentenced or doing their time, Ammon answered, “I feel for them. We all do, but there’s a difference from those who pled out and those who … like for example in Oregon, who were convicted. We pondered that and it is heavy on our hearts. For those who pled out, how can the Lord protect them?

That’s how I felt, that’s how I believe that you can prevail, (by not pleading out). Because you have given up that doesn’t change anything, my love for them. That doesn’t change my respect for them. That doesn’t change what they did, meaning coming out and defending a family (Hammond family) because they are good people that did that. The salt of the earth and it doesn’t change any of that. I think it is a lesson for all of us, that you never admit to doing something you didn’t do and you always stand for what is right and let the consequences follow.

Another reporter asked Ammon about those who have been convicted that followed him and who played less of a roll, went to trial and were convicted and are facing conspiracy? “Right. Well, I find it really odd that they can get convicted of conspiracy when there was no such thing. I think we’re going to have to follow the process of the courts to win, or somehow if there’s another mechanism to get that thrown out or overturned, we will do that, and we will prevail with them as well, and they know it.”

Cliven’s attorney, Brent Whipple, was asked if Cliven was getting out of jail. “He can get out if he chooses, but he wants to be released without conditions. He wants to get out. I know his wife is dying to see him. She really wants him home for Christmas. It’s very hard on his wife, but she is very supportive of her husband.
I think we’re not surprised. I think at the end of the day we’ve anticipated the end results. We were disappointed that we couldn’t get to the jury. I think the finality would have occurred if the jury could … but at the end of the day this is where we wanted to be.

“What the judge said about the violations, and there is significance to her words, and she outlined the specifics, and so she had no alternative but to issue a mistrial. We believe, also built into her statements, were the facts that it was prejudicial, that there was a malicious intent or that it was consistent recurring issues. That in itself rightly suggests that it should be with prejudice, and so this should be the trial.

Corruption and More Corruption!

Former BLM Agent Larry Wooten blew the whistle on the BLM’s dirty dealings, Dan Love’s “Kill Book” and total corruption within the agency. Steven Myhre, the lead prosecutor was given this information several  months ago, but did not reveal it to the defense. This is just one of the pieces of evidence the government has held back in their quest to get a conviction.

Judge Gloria Navarro is doing everything she can within her power to make sure no one outside those in the sealed court hearings know about the government cover-up, especially the press.

Navarro called for another sealed hearing this morning, 12-15-2017 for 9 am. It was held at 8 am and was over before anyone knew about it. She called it to chastise Ammon’s attorney, Morgan Philpot and possibly sanction him for inadvertently saying something in front of the jury that was sealed.

This was not the real reason, She was trying to find out who leaked the Larry Wooten evidence, which was sealed. It was a fishing expedition to see if she could find out who let the cat out of the bag. She suspected it was Philpot, but he assured her it was not him. He told me that it was not him, and I believe him. He is a spirit filled attorney being directed by the Lord in this work.

They are going after Mr. Philpot the way they have gone after Marcus Mumford, Ammon’s Oregon attorney. He has been barred from practicing law in federal court because he defended Ammon Bundy. His law license has been temporally revoked for federal court practice. The government hates to lose and they will punish anyone who embarrasses them. The attorneys defending the Bundys and the other defendants had better watch their backs!

Nothing was said to the prosecution about their blatant lies and withholding of evidence! Not one word!

Myhre made light of the Brady violations, saying it is being blown out of proportion and there is nothing to it. Since when is there nothing to prosecutorial misconduct? Since when is there nothing to hiding evidence?

You can bet Navarro and the government will do everything within their power to cover up this malfeasance.

It will not work! We are on to them!

Navarro admitted she is feeling pressure from the public. I suspect most of that pressure is coming from the protesters with signs, Facebook, YouTube posts, blogs and supporters like you.

Myhre and his team are dishonest. Period!
And Navarro is an accomplice.

Sealed Documents, An Abridgment of Free Speech and Press

The only mainstream media outlet to cover the Bunkerville trial is the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The Journal has joined with other Nevada newspapers in a motion to unseal trial documents hidden from the eyes of the public. The government team led by Steven Myhre has committed prosecutorial misconduct from the very beginning, not only with this trial, but the two previously trials, as well.

Gregory Burleson and Todd Engel were convicted on obstruction and interstate travel in aid of extortion. Burleson, who is blind and in a wheelchair, was sentenced to 68 years in prison. Judge Gloria Navarro said she had taken into consideration Burleson’s blindness and frailty, so she knocked off 5 years of his sentence. It is a good thing she did otherwise he would have gotten 73 years. He would be 121 years old with the 68 year sentence and 126 with the 73 year sentence, both life sentences anyway you look at it. It was probably a good thing Burleson was sick.
Todd Engel, who will be sentenced in March 2018 faces 30 years behind bars. Not to worry, he will only be 80 years old when released, plenty of time to live a full life and enjoy his family. Right?

If Myhre and company had not covered up evidence in the first trial there would not have been a hung jury resulting in a second trial. In all likelihood the first jury would have returned a Not Guilty verdict.
As Navarro said after reading the 15 violations committed by the prosecution, failures to turn over evidence might be “sufficient to undermine the confidence in the outcome of the trial.” Yes, I would agree. It certainly had an impact on pretrial release, not only for defendants in this and the upcoming trial, but the previous trial as well. Those men were cheated. Their families were cheated.
It just shows how far the government will go to get a conviction. More than that, it clearly shows the government has no case. You don’t have to lie to get a conviction if the party is guilty.

Unless it involves national security or positive proof showing someone may die, written and oral arguments should never be kept from the public. Why did Navarro seal this and other motion hearings? I suspect it was to keep from embarrassing the government by covering up blatant prosecutorial misconduct.

Navarro did have the integrity to speak candidly in open court about the15 Brady and Giglio violations the prosecution committed. That was bad for the government, yet it was revealed to the public. I am left to wonder how many more violations, perhaps more serious than the 15 revealed, is being hidden from the public to shield the government from further embarrassment.
This not only hides possible misconduct, it violates the First Amendment by abridging freedom of speech and press.

New Developments. Is A Dismissal Coming?

A lot is going on in the Bunkerville trial. This morning when court was convened we found that several motions had been filed by the defense and  prosecution. Judge Navarro read 15 violations made by the prosecution. She cited Giglio v US, which was a Supreme Court Decision where Giglio petitioned the court for a new trial because the prosecution had promised a witness immunity if he would testify without telling the defense. I’m guessing that witness, in this case, was Dan Love, but I’m just guessing. She also cited 7 Brady Violations. Brady v Maryland was a landmark US Supreme Court Case establishing that the prosecution must turn over all evidence that might exonerate the defendant. A lot of that has gone on in this trial from the very beginning. Navarro read off several Brady violations, including emails, videos, FBI Threat Assessment reports, the knowledge of Surveillance cameras not reported, joint task force reports, about 15 violations in all−also, new evidence that has come out. The public was dismissed from the courtroom and a sealed hearing was held. I’m sure many more violations were discussed that we do not know about.

Ammon’s attorney told a small group of us that Judge Navarro was prepared to render a decision this morning, but the prosecution begged for more time. So, we will have to wait until next Tuesday to find out if the trial will go on, if a mistrial will be take place, an out and out or dismissal. Navarro said that even if a mistrial is handed down there is a question of double jeopardy.
I got to talk to Ammon this morning and he seemed very positive about the future of the trial. I also talked to Ryan Payne.  He said that he appreciates the sacrifice everyone has made to support them.

I told him that he and the others are the ones who have sacrificed.  “No, that sacrifice was inclusive,” he said. “Because many people gave their time, their livelihood, and so much more. I hope my prayers for blessings to be rained down on the people who have sacrificed will be answered.”

Everyone feels honored to support this great cause for freedom, so we have already been blessed. God has been in charge and all will work out as He has designed it to.
I’ll keep you posted of new developments.

How The BLM Came About

The federal government encouraged people to settle the west by granting 160 acres to families who agreed to pull up stake, move west, and take a chance on surviving in an unknown land, sometimes with very little to sustain them. But survive they did, sometimes against great odds. They set about improving the land, clearing rocks from fields, cutting timber and fashioning them into a modest cabin with dirt floors. They survived brutal winters and scorching summers, they endured hunger when their crops failed due to locusts, droughts, and other whims of nature. They labored before sun-up and after sun-down with the hope of building a better life. They spent countless hours building water tanks, sometimes running pipes for miles from a slow running spring or seeping rocks in the hills and mountains hoping to capture enough moisture to keep their families alive, sustain their livestock and water their crops.

All things living depended on the scant moisture nature reluctantly surrendered, especially in the deserts of the west. Very little has changed. Modern conveniences have made life a little easier today, and that is about it.
The land is still unforgiving and unpredictable.

Those pioneers free-ranged their cattle in different areas, one area for winter grass and one area for summer grass. They learned how to do control burns to rid the land of noxious plants that suck up moisture from the earth killing the sparse grass used to feed their cattle, something they learned from Native Americans who had been doing it for thousands of years.

The ranchers shared the land, worked it together and lived in harmony without government interference. State water registries were created that gave deeded grazing and water rights to those who had first put it to beneficial use.

Those deeded rights were treated as private property and recorded in the state or county land office like any other real property. They paid taxes on them like real property and banks issued loans against them. The same applies today.

Certain conditions had to be met to keep those rights, along with the land the ranchers and farmers homesteaded. They had to make beneficial use of the land and water, make improvements to the land, and defend the land. Those were the three basic conditions of ownership. As long as they kept their end of the bargain these hard working men and women of the west could keep and pass those rights down to their children and their children’s children. The only other way they could lose those rights was to sell them or simply walk away.

Today those tenets are still valid, but not as much so. Today if the government decides all or a portion of your land is actually theirs, they simply take it, most of the time without compensation − they take the water rights and the right to forage regardless of state or federal laws, or past rulings from the Supreme Court. The creation of the United States Forest Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the EPA, the Corp of Engineers and the Bureau of land Management, to name a few, has changed the way ranchers and farmers do business in the 11 western states.
These agencies have created laws and regulations that have usurped the Constitution of the United States by violating and taking away state sovereignty and home rule. The most egregious of these violations is the creations of policing agencies that swoop down upon the people and compel them to obey their commands.

The real authority is with “we the people.” This authority is delegated to those elected to protect our interest. The sheriff is the one with the most authority on the county level, not the FBI or any other federal policing agency created by the United States Congress or appointed by the President. The sheriff hires deputies who are authorized to act under his or her authority. If the sheriff or other elected representatives fails to protect the people’s interest, then the people retain the right to protect themselves. The authority always stays with the people.

The worst violator, at least in the west, is the Bureau of Land Management who rules with an iron fist. The FBI, the U.S. Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service join the BLM in this unauthorized policing. The BLM, especially, has all but destroyed the ranching industry by their improper and illegal land management practices and by employing playground bully tactics.

The courts, too, have usurped and continue to usurp the Constitution by ruling against the people who have given their blood, sweat and tears, and who has encountered every obstacle known to man so they could earn the right to stay and work their land.

The courts have been compromised by rulings against the precepts of the Constitution. This has set a standard where rulings are made on precedent rather than on the law of the land. The federal courts no longer recognize inalienable rights. Inalienable rights are all rights given by God at the time of birth and cannot be violated without the wrath of God. The courts have ruled that God given rights are a myth, that they are not real. The federal government, they say, only has the power to grant inalienable rights. They say the Founding Fathers were wrong, that they did not know what they were talking about when they said people have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The environmental movement has had the greatest influence on the federal government in their effort to rid public lands of cattle, mining, logging and people. Groups like the Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club and the National Wildlife Federation have joined ranks with the BLM and other government agencies to create havoc for those who depend on public lands for their livelihood. Local economies have been destroyed, families thrown into bankruptcy and people sent to prison because of their unlawful tactics.
Before federal agencies and environmentalist came along, the ranchers and farmers thrived because they knew the land, they knew how to manage the land responsibly. They understood if they were not good stewards, the land would not sustain them.

There had always been a general understanding of who owned the range land and the accompanying rights, sort of a gentlemen’s agreement. As time passed, however, questions cropped up among the ranchers about range borders. Disputes happened and tensions arose among neighbors. They recognized that boundaries had to be defined, so they went to the state and asked for help. The states did not have the money to survey the thousands of acres, so the ranchers petitioned the federal government for help.

This was especially true with Nevada in the late 1920s which was the least populated state in the union with only 94,000 people. Compare this with Utah which had 522,000 citizens, Arizona with 430,000 and New York with 122 million. The agreement to survey resulted in congress passing the Taylor Grazing Act in 1934. This act helped to establish boundaries and to protect the rights of rancher’s and farmer.

The states essentially asked the federal government to come in and “save” them. The result was federal control. Once they started depending on the government for their livelihood and the health of the economy, the ranchers, farmers and the state governments turned a blind eye each time state or individual rights were violated by the federal government.

The federal governments did what the states requested it to do, survey and establish boundaries. In order to manage these boundaries the federal government created a Grazing Office under the umbrella of the Taylor Grazing Act to assist the ranchers in preserving their rights to grazing the range land. Notice I said, “To preserve their rights to grazing,” not to steal it.

That was the original intent and it worked well for a long time. Before the Grazing Office came along, the General Land office, established in 1812, was created by congress to administer public lands in the Territories. Notice that I said Territories, with a capital T − it had nothing to do with administering lands within the established states or new states entering the union.

It was decided that the ranchers would pay a yearly fee per cow to the Grazing Office. In return the ranchers formed a committee that would decide as a community how best to use the money. Twenty percent was to be set aside for administration purposes and eighty percent was to go back to the ranchers. They put the money to use by mending fences, keeping up roads, building new water systems and repairing old ones that had been built by their ancestors a hundred years earlier. Improvements were made to the land year after year. Beneficial use and improvement was being applied. It was an efficient system that everyone profited from. It worked.

The money paid into the Grazing Office became to be known over time as a grazing fee, but was actually an improvement fee managed strictly by and for the ranchers.
Things went really well for several years. Never at any time did the ranchers question their neighbors over range land or water rights. They knew who owned them because they had been established through years of beneficial use starting with their pioneer ancestors.

These rights never belonged to the federal government, except when the land was part of a Territory, with a capital T. I emphasize that because the Constitution distinguishes the difference between State and Territory. The federal government controlled and administered the Territories, including water and minerals. After states were created from the Territories, the land and all rights reverted back to the states under the Equal Footing Doctrine.

However, the BLM and the federal judges will tell you a different story today. It is not because they do not understand the constitutionality of it; they simply do not recognize it. Once one judge rules in favor of the government, it then sets a precedent for future cases. Today the question of who owns the land, the federal government or the state, has yet to be permanently settled because of different interpretations in the courts. The Constitution says one thing, but the courts say something else.

Because they have continued to rule on precedent and not on the rule of law, the question in the minds of land owners remains in limbo. Most federal courts do not even recognize the Constitution as a valid argument because of personal interpretations, and because it may result in jury nullification, which, by-the-way is legal.

The 1934 Taylor Grazing Act’s sole purpose was to get the land and resources into the hands of the ranchers. It was to encourage them to use and manage the resources and to help them manage those resources by establishing best practices as proven through sound science and techniques at the time. This was the same principal the government used with the farmers and ranchers during the Great Depression.

That all changed in 1946 when the federal government combined the Land office with the Grazing Office to form the Bureau of Land Management.
Things went smoothly for a while, but as time passed the BLM began to change their style of management from helping the ranchers, to controlling them. Inside the BLM bureaucracy individuals began working their way up in positions of power and influence. Before long the committees were dismantled and the money and resources were taken and used for the BLM’s own good. Nothing went to the ranchers. It went from 80% for the Ranchers to 100% for the BLM.

One of the ranchers who served on the committees was Cliven Bundy, who later made the case that federal ownership of land was unconstitutional. He explains, “Back before ’34, before the Taylor Grazing Act, they started to have range wars. Instead of settling boundary disputes in local and state courts, the federal government got involved. It was the rancher’s fault; they never should have allowed it to start. They started paying the Taylor Grazing fees in ’34, to adjudicate the boundaries. The adjudicating went on right up through the ‘60s. Then they needed fences and water. The ranchers paid for that adjudication, $6 to $10 per animal unit and they were getting 80% of the fees back in range improvements. Twelve and a half percent was supposed to go to the BLM for administration, and then the rest was for range improvements.”

In the Southern Nevada district there were only four BLM agents in the whole area. They became an entity unto themselves and used the funds however they wanted without the ranchers having any say so at all. The Ranchers complained and said, “Hey what about our funds?”
The BLM replied, “What about it? It’s our money and we can do whatever we want with it, like it or not!”

As the ranchers passed down their grazing and water rights from one generation to the other, their rights were understood less and less. They failed to fight for those rights, but chose instead to accept everything the BLM and other agencies said. They were convinced they had no rights, that the grazing and water allotments were federally owned. Even the states, who legally owned the land, did nothing to challenge the authority of the federal government. When some of the ranchers did question the BLM, they harassed, bullied and threatened them with law suits, huge fines, confiscation of their livestock and land and water rights − all of this to coerce them into submission.

The environmentalist joined them by filing friendly lawsuits to give the BLM, NFS and other agencies an excuse to act. A lot of the judges, who once acted as lawyers for these environmental groups and shared their vision, were appointed to the federal bench by administrations who also shared the same views. With allies in place, it was very hard for ranchers, miners and loggers to win in a court of law. With the help of the courts, lands were taken without compensation, clearly violating Amendment V of the Constitution.

The bureaucracy gained more and more power over the years until they have become so entrenched that neither the president or congress can control them. They have no fear of the federal courts because they usually rule in their favor, and if not, they shop around until they find one that will. They certainly are not afraid of the people.
The ranchers who did not understand their rights, and even some that did, were scared of retaliation from the BLM. They went along with their demands by reasoning that making some form of a living and retaining some of their land was better than losing it all. At least they would have something to pass along to their posterity.

Rules were constantly changing, too. As soon as the ranchers would agree to one set of rules, the BLM would change them again, sometimes before the first set was ever implemented. The ranchers, miners and loggers tried time after time to get along with the BLM and other federal agencies hoping they would eventually leave them alone, but they did not, and they have not, even until this day.

The BLM allowed fewer and fewer cattle on the grazing and water allotments until ranchers could not survive as a business. Many just gave up and sold out, usually to the BLM at pennies on the dollar since the land was no longer good for raising cattle. Mines that had been in existence for decades have been closed, lumber mills abandoned, and businesses that support and rely on these industries have been shuttered because they are no longer needed. To say that lives have been ruined is an understatement. These federal behemoths and environmental groups do not seem to care. Compassion is a word with no meaning.

The BLM, has gone unchecked, their power unlimited, and the ranchers, miners and loggers have dwindled and dwindled until they have become an endangered species themselves. Perhaps they should be placed on the endangered species list instead of sage grouse or the desert tortoise that is not really in danger of extinction, but is simply being used as a tool to undermine the rights of the people.

The federal government and the BLM consider private land ownership a problem that must be dealt with in the west. This has been the policy of many past presidents, but was especially true with the Obama administration. President Trump has at least listened to the people and reduced the size of national monuments, recognized water and grazing rights, to some extent, and signed into law a bill that limits the amount of land the federal government can take for national monuments.

This is something of a win, but not much of one. The federal government has still not recognized that all land belongs to the several states, except “for all places purchased by the consent of the legislature (not to exceed ten square miles) of the state in which the same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-yards and other needful buildings,” as stated in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17 of the Constitution.

Cliven Bundy and other good men and women chose to take a stand to protect our rights against an out-of-control federal government. It was never about cattle.

We must demand accountability from our elected representatives. We need to pay attention. We need to take back our rights we have let slip away. We will not get them back and preserve those we have if we do not take a stand. We need to understand, as we once did, that all authority rests with “We the People.”

Ryan’s Cross Examination and Pre-Trial Release of The Defendants

November 22-23
Ryan’s Cross Examination of Terry Petrie and Robert Shilalkin
Ryan Bundy crossed examined the second witness, Terry Petrie, for a total of two and a half hours with the skill of a seasoned lawyer. Each question was methodical, one question leading to another, and then another, until the answer he sought was finally extracted.
Ryan asked questions on state sovereignty and on the limited powers of government granted by the Constitution. He asked Mr. Petrie if he knew what the Supremacy Clause was. Petrie answered, “I do not know right off.” Ryan then quoted Article VI, Clause 2.
He grilled the witness on the Property Clause and the meaning of Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17 of the Constitution, laying the groundwork for the Equal Footing Doctrine argument.
He tied the Property Clause of the Constitution and Equal Footing Doctrine into Territories obtained through the Louisiana Purchase, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the Spanish treaty relinquishing Florida and Georgia to the United States as Territory.
What astonished me that no objections were made by the prosecution about Ryan’s line of questioning on the Constitution, when the prosecution specifically asked Navarro not to allow it. What really surprised me, Navarro not once admonish him for bringing it up. Myhre and Schiess just sat there with their heads down. You could almost see steam coming from their heads like a volcano ready to explode. I could tell the jury was taking notice by their attentiveness and note taking during the entire cross examination.

On November 24, 2017the 3rd witness, BLM Special Agent, Robert Shilalkin, was questioned by head prosecutor Steven Myhre on his role in the 2014 stand-off. Shilalkin said the he and BLM Special Agent Michael Johnson were sent to Nevada in March 2014 to make contact with Cliven Bundy or one of his sons. Their mission was to inform them of their intent to enforce the court orders to impound their cattle, and to find out what their reaction would be.
According to Shilalkin, he and Johnson first went to the Bundy residence, but found no one home. They next tried to contact Dave Bundy, one of Cliven’s sons, but had no luck there either, so they decided to take a drive out on the range in hopes of finding one of the Bundys there.
Johnson and Shilalkin soon spotted a Dodge truck pulling a horse trailer coming toward them on the narrow desert road. It turned out to be Clancy Cox, Cliven’s son-in-law and ranch foreman. After a few pleasantries Johnson asked Cox to contact Cliven, who was out of town visiting his mother.
Cox could not reach Cliven, but left a message asking him to call back. After a few minutes had passed Cliven called and Cox told him about the two agents and their desire to talk to him. He refused and told Cox to, “get back to work.”
Johnson asked Clancy to confirm Ryan Bundy’s phone number, and then he and Shilalkin traveled the 100 mile to Cedar City, Utah where they were staying. Later that day Johnson got in touch with Ryan and the conversation was recorded without Ryan’s knowledge.
Brett Whipple, Cliven’s attorney, asked Johnson if he was aware of Nevada law, implying that no one could be recorded without permission. Johnson responded that the federal government did not have to have permission to record a conversation without the knowledge of the person being recorded.
Steven Myhre, for the prosecution, wanted to play snippets of the Johnson-Bundy tape, but the defense argued the Rule of Completeness should be implemented so the entire recording could be heard by the jury so nothing could be taken out of context. Myhre argued against playing the entire 46 minute tape, citing time restraints and taking up too much of the jury’s time. It would be “self serving,” Myhre said, because “Ryan Bundy talked about his interpretation of the Constitution and talked about his Mormon religious beliefs.” This, he argued, is not relevant to the case.
Judge Navarro agreed and ruled in favor of the prosecution. About 15 minutes of the tape was allowed to be heard by the jury.
After it was revealed by Shilalkin during cross examination by Whipple that another video existed, possibly showing that Clancy Cox, Cliven’s son-in-law was offered a bribe, Navarro allowed the entire 46 minute phone recording to be played in front of the jury.
Shilalkin testified that Johnson had told Ryan they intended to carry out a court order to impound his father’s cattle. He then asked Ryan if they were going to have any physical contact when they started the cattle impoundment. “We want to avoid that at all cost,” Johnson said.
“The best way to avoid that is to not show up,” Ryan answered.
“Does that mean you intend to use physical contact?” Johnson asked again.
Ryan’s answer was quick and resolute. “We will do whatever it takes, you interpret that anyway you want,”
“Does that mean you intend to make physical contact?” Johnson asked again.
Ryan answered, “I will not tell you what we will do and what we won’t do.”
Johnson said to Ryan that he wanted it to end peacefully and wanted to know what could be done for that to happen.
“Do not show up if you want to avoid confrontation,” Ryan answered. “You need to adhere to the Constitution and recognize state laws and local authority.”
Ryan then told Johnson that he had met with 50 ranchers, some in Utah and some in the surrounding Nevada counties and they had offered their support because, in their words, “If Cliven falls, we’re next.”
“You are threatening to take 50% of their land because of wild horses.” Ryan said, referring to BLM’s plan to make ranchers reduce the size of their herd and restrict grazing areas so the wild horse population would have more land to feed on.

The Bureau of Land Management has failed to effectively manage the wild horse population in the west, claiming lack of money. There are 60,000 free ranging horses in the west with 35,000 in Nevada alone. The BLM claims the entire range can only sustain 27,000 horses. The first to pay the price for their mismanagement are the ranchers. They are forced to reduce their herd size or face loss of grazing rights and impoundment if they do not comply. This effectively cancels their water rights, too, because the BLM will not allow cattle to access any water source on public lands, even though the law states otherwise.

“You are threatening life and liberty of the ranchers, just like you are trying to do to us,” Ryan said. “That’s unconstitutional. Hundreds will come.”
Ryan told Johnson that news had spread all over the world about what had happened to them. “Why is the world interested in two Bundy cows?” Ryan asked. “Because America stood for freedom and has for years and the world is interested in seeing how America will deal with freedom. The world wants to know.” He then told Johnson that our freedom is not being lost in Iraq and other places overseas. “They are being lost right here at home.” Ryan then told Johnson that he was guilty of taking those rights along with the BLM.
The conversation then turned to the sheriff. “We delegate our authority to the sheriff,” Ryan said. He then explained to Johnson during the taped conversation, about the power and authority of the sheriff, and that no other law enforcement entity could overrule that authority. “If the sheriff does not step in to protect the people,” Ryan said, “we still have the authority, because the authority comes from the people.” He pointed out that the sheriff had stepped in on other occasions to stop impoundment.
“Has the sheriff indicated that he would help you this time?” Johnson asked.
“No, but we are trying to change his mind.”
Johnson said again they intended to carry out the court order and wished the Bundy family no harm.
“I don’t believe that!” Ryan snapped. “It is a crime to gather our cows. You are trying to do us harm by stealing our cattle.” He then asked Johnson, “What would you do if someone tried to take your property?
“I would defend it,” Johnson said.
“Exactly,” Ryan agreed “Then how is it any different than us defending our property? The state recognizes water and grazing rights, established rights that are tied together. We do not claim to own the land, just the rights. The water coming out of the ground belongs to us. Our cattle must be allowed to go to the water.” He emphasized that pipes carrying water and the infrastructure and range improvements were private property belonging to his family.
Johnson stressed again that they intended to carry out the court order to remove Bundy cattle from public lands.
“Do you recognize the court order? Ryan asked. “If you do, that would be violating the 10th Amendment because the federal court is not a court of competent jurisdiction.” He then pointed out that a competent court was a state court, not a federal court, because the state owned the land and only they had the authority to judge. “Powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution are reserved to the states, or to the people,” he said.
Ryan again talked about the Equal Footing Doctrine in the Northwest Ordinance passed by the Founders, where all states entering the Union came in on an equal footing as the original 13 states. “The federal government,” he said, “did not claim ownership of any land when they entered the Union.”
He asked Johnson what he knew about Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 where it states the federal government cannot own land unless it is approved by the state legislature, that it cannot be more than 10 sq. miles, and it must be used for Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, Dock-yards and other needful buildings. “The federal government has no right to Nevada land”, Ryan said. He mentioned the Nevada Law of 2005, saying it did not recognize federal ownership of state land.
Ryan talked about why the Desert Tortoise and why it was placed on the Endangered Species list. “The Desert Tortoise does not qualify to be on the endangered list because it has nothing to do with interstate commerce.” He said that geese and the selling of elephant trunks was an example of what the Endangered Species Act was about, but the “Desert Tortoise did not fit.”

The 1976 Endangered Species Act that implemented the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, did address international and interstate commerce, but has changed in purpose over the years because of added amendments. It encourages the creation of state programs supplemented by the federal government and administered under the Department of Interior.

Ryan pointed out to Johnson that a Desert Tortoise refuge had been established for their preservation and dissemination, but soon found they had more tortoise than they knew what to do with. Because of this overpopulation at the refuge, “the BLM euthanized 1,400 endangered tortoises,” he said.
Ryan asked Johnson if he was familiar with the Mormon faith. Johnson said yes, that he was a member of the church. He pointed out that almost all important decisions were made at the local level of the church, and the United States government was set up the same way.
Ryan told Johnson, who is also LDS that being a member of the church he should know that it teaches the Constitution is an inspired document. He also mentioned that church founder, Joseph Smith, had said the Constitution will hang by a thread. “Do you realize it is up to the Elders of Israel to save the Constitution?” Ryan asked. He then quoted other Mormon prophets and scripture supporting his viewpoint.

Brett Whipple, on cross in front of the jury, asked Shilalkin if Cox had been bribed to get his father-in-law to cooperate. This did not draw an objection from the prosecution
Later in the questioning of Shilalkin, it was discovered that Clancy Cox had been video recorded with a body camera worn by Shilalkin. Neither the prosecution nor defense had known about this video.
Whipple asked Shilalkin if he knew where the video was. Shilalkin responded that it was in the evidence vault at BLM headquarters in Salt Lake City. Whipple then asked Navarro if the video could be retrieved. Navarro agreed and asked Myhre to work on getting the video during lunch break. The video, the defense hoped, would prove that Johnson had bribed Cox.
A copy of the video and audio recording was sent to the prosecution via email. Whipple and Payne’s attorney, Ryan Norwood, asked Navarro for time to review the video before allowing the jury to see it, and so they could get in contact with Cox to ask him questions. Navarro agreed to give the defense overnight to view the video.
The next morning Myhre told the court, before the jury was seated, that nothing in the video suggested Clancy Cox had been bribed. After the jury was brought in, Myhre asked that the video be entered into evidence. The video showed the entire conversation the two agents had with Cox, but no mention was made of a bribe.
With Shilalkin on the stand Whipple told Navarro he had been mistaken about the video. He then claimed that Johnson had made a phone call to Cox from his motel room on March 18, the day after talking to Cox out on the range. Shilalkin confirmed the phone call had taken place.
Whipple then asked Shilalkin if Johnson had offered Cox money or other compensation to get Cliven Bundy to cooperate.
Immediately Myhre objected.
Whipple countered, “Your Honor, they cannot object now when they did not object before.”
Navarro allowed Shilalkin to answer the question. Immediately Shilalkin snapped, “Absolutely not!”
During a closed hearing it was revealed that the prosecution had known about the email and the email confirmed that Clancy Cox had been offered compensation to help sway his father-in-law to cooperate with the impoundment.
This, as it turns out, was the turning point in the case and one of the reasons Navarro reversed her decision to release Cliven and Ammon Bundy and Ryan Payne. Eventually the others were released also.

November 30-Ranger Victoria Worfork Started Cocky, Ended Humble

BLM agent and law enforcement officer, Victoria Worfork, was the 3rd witness to be called. Myhre, for the prosecution, asked Worfork to describe what happened on March 26, 2014 when the compound was being set up to commence impoundment.
Worfork took the witness stand looking confident and perhaps a little cocky. As the testimony went forth I could tell she was proud of the answers she was providing to the prosecution by the smug look on her face and the way she emphasized certain points for the jury. Worfork’s answer to each question seemed designed to cast the Bundy in a dubious light in front of the jury.
Worfork was the BLM agent in charge of setting up the Incident Command Post, or ICP, where the impoundment would take place. Myhre asked Worfork to state her training background as an LEO. He then played a video recorded by Arden Bundy, Cliven’s youngest son, from a Go-Pro camera mounted on his hat. As the video played Myhre would stop it at different points to ask Worfork to explain what was taking place.
The first clip showed a truck pulling a horse trailer parked close to the ICP fence and a man standing next to the truck. Worfork identified Cliven Bundy as the person standing next to the truck.
The next clip showed three men on horseback riding the fence line. She was asked to identify each man. She pointed out Ryan and Arden Bundy, but could not identify the third man on horseback, later identified as Clancy Cox.
As Myhre advanced to another clip, he asked Worfork what she thought by her observation as a trained officer, why the Bundys were there. “It looked as though they were trying to find a way into the Incident Command Post,” she said.
“And what did you do then,” Myhre asked.
“I told them to leave.”
What else did you observe? Asked Myhre.

Worfork described Ryan Bundy reaching into his vest pocket with his right hand and pulling it back out again. She said he repeated the action several times and noticed a bulge in Ryan’s pocket, insinuating that Ryan had a gun.
Worfork was then asked what she thought Ryan was doing. “I think he was trying to bait me into doing something.”
Myhre asked Worfork if she felt threatened. Her response was a quick “Yes.”
“What message do you think they were trying to send?” Myhre asked.
Worfork answered, “I think they were trying to get a response from me and the other officers.” Worfork was the only officer at the future command center when the Bundys arrived, but others came after she placed a radio call for back-up.
Worfork was asked what else she had observed. She said that Arden Bundy had a Go-Pro Camera on his hat and another vehicle with a camera crew had pulled up beside the truck with the horse trailer.
“What was your threat assessment once you saw the camera crew?” Myhre asked. Worfork replied that seeing the camera crew changed her threat assessment as being less dangerous.
The next frame showed several trucks parked along SR 15 with cars passing by on both the northbound and southbound lanes.
“Were you worried for the vehicles parked along the highway?” Myhre asked. Worfork said yes, that she had worried they would get hit by another car and injure the people inside. To bring her point home to the jury about the dangerous situation, she said, “Cars travel at a high rate of speed, some go 100 mph, and it’s a very dangerous situation.” Worfork also said she was concerned for the safety of her officers because a crash might send a car into the compound.
Another clip showed a truck parked at the gate with more trucks coming. Worfork explained they were BLM contractors there to help build the compound. Others, she said, were contract cowboys hired to roundup Bundy cattle. Worfork insinuated she did not know who they were at first, and thought they might be there to support the Bundys. She also insinuated that Cliven’s truck was blocking the roadway.
Ryan Bundy was the first for the defense to cross examine the witness. “What position do you hold with the BLM? He asked.
“I am a law enforcement officer,” she replied.
“Do you work for the federal government? He asked
“Yes.” Worfork answered.
“Do you bring your Presidential Commission?” Ryan asked.
Ryan then asked if the land by the highway was public or state right-of-way.
Worfork’s answer was smug, “I’m not a real estate expert and I can’t say.”
Ryan then asked Judge Navarro if his co-counsel, Mason Fletcher, could leave the courtroom to retrieve some documents. Fletcher came back a short time later with two scrolls. Ryan took the scrolls and laid them on the podium where he stood.
Worfork’s countenance suddenly changed.
Ryan, like Myhre, played the Go-Pro video stopping at certain places to ask Worfork questions.
He advanced the video, first to a gate, then to a fence, and then to a cattle gap in the narrow dirt road leading up to the ICP. He next showed the highway with government contractors parked along the shoulder.
Ryan asked if Worfork could identify each one and their location. She answered, sometimes reluctantly, but always with a snappy “yes” or “no.”
As the video advanced and Ryan’s questions continued, Worfork’s answers would end with a “but”. For instance, when she was asked if the trucks parked along the highway were parked on a legal shoulder used for emergencies, Worfork agreed, but expounded on how dangerous it was to be parked along the highway with speeding cars.
Ryan asked if the highway was a state road. She agreed. He then asked if the fence was on public land. Again Worfork agreed. “Then you would agree the land next to the fence is state right-of-way?” Ryan advanced the video showing the three riders next to the fence. Would you agree with me that the horses and the people riding them “are on state land? Are they breaking any laws?”
With each question Worfork became increasingly uncomfortable, her tone defensive, her insecurity apparent. She was very aware that Ryan’s line of questioning was debunking her previous testimony.
She was also aware of the scrolls, something Ryan never had to use. Whether the scrolls did or did not show the line of demarcation between public and state lands I do not know, but it placed in the minds of the jury and the witness that the proof was there.
Next Ryan stopped the video so Worfork could see Cliven’s truck and the car with the camera crew−it showed clearly that the road was not blocked and preventing the contractors from entering. It also showed Cliven leaning against the truck in a non-threatening way, which Ryan pointed out.
The next few video shot would bring his point home. The first frame showed Cliven and Clancy with a cell phone in their hands holding it up in a picture-taking pose. Ryan asked Worfork what she thought, in her professional opinion, they were doing? “Taking photos,” she responded.
Ryan advanced the video where he was sitting on his horse with a cell phone in his hand as though taking a picture. “What does it look like I am I doing?” he asked.
“Taking a picture,” Worfork responded.
Ryan then stopped the video showing Cliven, Clancy with cell phones up in a photo taking posture.
And then the clincher−the video stopped on Ryan sitting on his horse with a cell phone in his hand as though taking a picture. The implication was stark.
I believe the jury, at that point, was convinced that Ryan did not have a gun in his vest pocket as Worfork and the prosecution had inferred during direct examination. They understood at that moment what caused the bulge in Ryan’s vest pocket, and it was not a gun.

November 29, 2017 A Surprise Reversal
Navarro dismissed the jury, but court was not over. In a surprise reversal Navarro announced she would allow Clive Bundy, Ammon Bundy and Ryan Payne out of jail on house arrest.
When I first arrived at the Lloyd D. George Federal Courthouse I learned that a closed-door hearing had been held that morning. The defense had filed a 1,000 page motion, which was ordered sealed by Navarro. The defense addressed multiple pending motions, one being a dismissal of the case due to alleged delays or alleged withholding of discovery by the prosecution−Information that could have helped in the defendants’ case, in the current trial and in the two previous trials.
Judge Navarro ordered the release of Cliven and Ammon Bundy and Ryan Payne from jail because she “reweighed the evidence,” said Brett Whipple.
The other member of the defense team, Dan Hill, said, “Judge Navarro reevaluated the weight of the evidence and found her concerns were mitigated.”
The Clancy Cox video, the email sent to Cox by agent Michael Johnson, and the F.B.I. Threat Assessment that was discovered on cross examination some deliberately held back by the government, all contributed to Navarro’s decision to reverse her decision and release the defendants for pre-trial.
To add to the “mitigated concerns” that caused Navarro to “reevaluate the weight of the evidence,” was another piece of evidence not revealed to the defense during discovery. An email, sent by Dan Love, to government attorney, Terry Petrie, the 2nd witness to testify, was forwarded by him to the prosecution.
Also, in the days leading up to the trial, defense lawyers learned for the first time of federal officers placing surveillance cameras outside the Bundy Ranch, providing live-feed footage to the Incident Command Center, which the prosecution denied. The live feed clearly showed snipers with their guns pointed at the Bundy residence.
The withholding of evidence is a serious breach of protocol frowned upon by the judiciary. It is rumored that Judge Navarro reprimanded the prosecuting attorneys for their behavior.
All 3 men were offered places to stay in the Las Vegas area during their release, which was one of Navarro’s conditions. No guns would be allowed in the homes and the homeowners would have to agree to a search. All three had to wear ankle GPS monitors as another condition. She did allow them to go to church, meet with their attorneys, and go for medical care and other places they felt necessary with the approval of security. They could not leave Clark County and had to be in court at the appointed time.
Ryan Payne’s conditions were more stringent. He had to submit to drug testing, psychological testing and counseling if deemed necessary. Since he had pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in a plea deal involving the 2016 Malheur Refuge take-over, and was still under bond, Payne had to have permission from Judge Anna Brown, who had presided over the Oregon case. Judge Navarro had sent Judge Brown an email listing her conditions for release.
Cliven Bundy did something no one expected. He refused to be released after Navarro presented him with release conditions.
“I understand his desire to stay in there to bring continued attention to this,” Ammon Bundy said to reporters on the day of his release. “I understand his decision because I still have brothers forced behind bars. He wants to make sure they are not forgotten. He wants to make sure that they get out as well.”
Whipple said Cliven Bundy would not accept the release conditions and objected to being let out of custody while other co-defendants still remain behind bars.
Whipple told the press, “To be released, he would have to agree to conditions. In his opinion, he’s not willing to take a deal with the government when he hasn’t done anything wrong to begin with … he’s very principled and he doesn’t want to violate those principals, and I respect that.”
Whipple also stated, “I have never had a client before object to a judge’s release order. He said he would prefer to be detained. He’s the boss, and I accept his position.”
Ammon was released on the morning of November 30, 2017. Judge Navarro had yet to hear from Judge Brown on her decision on Ryan Payne’s release conditions and bond. He would not be released until the next day.
I arrived early to find a crowd had already gathered. Family, friends and supporters stood near the courthouse steps shivering in the cold. The weather did not hamper the excitement of Ammon’s release.
A close friend of Ammon and his wife, Lisa, had driven to Emmitt, Idaho, to pick up their children. Sarah Redd Buck then drove all night to Las Vegas, a 650 mile journey, so the children could see their father for the first time in 2 years.
Nine o’clock was the scheduled release time. It came and went and still no Ammon. Finally at around 11:30 he walked out of the revolving door, a conditional free man. The crowd screamed and applauded as Ammon emerged. His family ran, grabbing him anywhere they could to get and give hugs.
His wife kissed and held on to him. This was the first time she had touched him since the day he was arrested in Oregon. Friends, supporters and family were all in tears. Some of the supporters had been with him at the refuge and had stood trial with him.
Cell phone cameras caught the event on video and snapshots. Network news cameras rolled showing the world what was taking place. Newspaper and magazine reporters were jotting down their impressions on note pads.
Ammon and the crowd moved toward a gaggle of reporters and television cameras. I stuck my digital recorder into the crowd hoping to document everything he had to say. Helicopters flying over, traffic on Las Vegas Boulevard and crowd noise sometimes drowned out his words, but most of them were captured.
A reporter asked Ammon why Judge Navarro released them after refusing to release them earlier. Ammon replied, “I can’t fully tell you the reasons why because there has been sealed hearings and so forth that I don’t want to speak about. But I think she said it best right after she released us, and that was that the evidence of the government since producing against us in trial has not been coming forth the way they have presented it, and she has seen that and she decided in the effort of justice to release us. And we’ve known that was always going to be the case, but we have suffered for two years trying to tell the world that what happened there was not what the government has been saying. And we are going to continue to show that in the court room, that what we did was right. What we did was according to our rights and more Americans need to do the same thing.”
Another reporter asked Ammon how difficult had his time in jail been. “It was very difficult. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a very good prisoner. I felt and as well as others, not just me, that we were innocent and we were not afforded the presumption of innocents. If we look at the Bill of Rights, I think almost half of them are there to protect the accused. The accused has a right to a fair and speedy trial. The accused has a right to counsel. The accused has a right to call witnesses in their defense. They were put in there for a reason. They were put in there to protect the accused. I think maybe we have forgotten that a little bit because there’s a tremendous amount of people that are being accused, incarcerated and separated from their families.”
Referring to his son he was holding in his arms, Ammon said, “When I went in this little guy was 11 months old and I’ve missed two years of his life. I have a great opportunity to get to know him again, so I don’t believe that’s the way it’s supposed to be. I believe you are supposed to be presumed innocent first.”
A TV reporter asked, “You said earlier that what you did was the right thing, what did you mean by that?”
“What I mean by that is, identify their rights and stand up for them, recognize what they are. Recognize that we do have a right to assemble, peacefully assemble, and to grieve our government. Recognize that our government does make mistakes and it’s the duty of the people to stand up to that, peacefully, and say no more, don’t do that, but that is our duty, if we don’t we will lose them. History proves that, and that’s what I mean.
Another reporter said, “Now the government has, in their case they are saying, that you did not peacefully assembly in 2014 at Bunkerville. How are you going to dispute that?”
“Well,” Ammon replied, “I think the trial will show itself that, and I’m not going to go into the details about it, but it already is. I’m standing out here and I don’t think I would be if the evidence wasn’t proving that we were at least somewhat less innocent than what they thought last week we were, and so this is where we are, and that’s what I mean.”
“The jury shouldn’t, or doesn’t know that you’ve been released because they weren’t there when the judge made that decision,” said a reporter. “What do you think the release says about the way the trial is going, and what are you planning on wearing when you are back in court?”
“Well, I think again just by being here …we have to … I want to give Judge Navarro some credit here you know, in the sense that, when we might dispute or disagree about the subject matter, jurisdiction and all of that, but she saw something and she did with her power what she had the authority to do, and I’m standing here because of that. And I want to recognize that. That was goodness of her to do that and I think she was fair, she wasn’t favoring us or favoring somebody else, she was doing her job, and I think because of that it shows where the evidence is taking this case and what the truth is. As far as what I’m going to wear out, I’ll wear what I wear to church before I got thrown in prison.” Pointing to his orange jail shoes, he said, “I’ll wear my cowboy boots, if I can get away with it.”
In the meantime the lawyers of Mel Bundy, Dave Bundy, Jason Woods, Joseph O’Shaughnessy and Brian Cavalier had filed a motion for pre-trial release. The prosecution had no objections to their release, because they had no grounds to object.
On December 4th, thinking the hearing was at 8:30 am, I awakened at 6 am for the 2 hour drive into Las Vegas. That’s 5 am St. George, Utah time. Once there I found that the hearing was not scheduled until 10:30 am in Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen’s court. I seem to have a hard time getting my times right.
Mel and Dave Bundy, Jason Woods and Joseph O’Shaughnessy were released in increments starting at 4:30 pm.
Judge Navarro said she has in hand a plea agreement signed by Joseph O’Shaughnessy, but details will be not be revealed until his sentencing.
Micah McGuire had previously taken a plea deal and was awaiting sentencing in February 2018. Brian Cavalier had pleaded guilty to various charges in Oregon, and was sentenced to time served by Judge Brown. It was not clear if Navarro would him or not.
Dave Bundy was the first to walk out of the revolving door, his cowboy hat in hand waving to the crowd. This elicited shouts of excitement from the crowd of about 50 supporters as his son rushed to embrace him. The rest of his family ran as one, encircling him in one giant hug as supporters snapped pictures of the emotional reunion.
Jason Woods came out about a half an hour later greeted by his mother, and a swarm of supporters.
I had been standing outside in the cold wind since early morning resulting in a sore throat and other cold symptoms, so I decided not to wait for Mel and O’Shaughnessy’ to come out. I had no doubt they would be received with tears of joy and shouts of excitement, as well.

Ryan Bundy’s Opening Statement

 

Ryan Bundy arrived at the courthouse on Wednesday November 15, 2017 prepared to give his opening statement. Friends and supporters gathered with Ryan in a prayer circle, as they did every day before trial, to offer a prayer of thanksgiving and to ask for God’s help and direction.

When everyone was seated and the jury was seated and instructed, Judge Navarro asked Ryan if he was ready to give his opening. Ryan walked over to the jury, but before he could get the first word out, Steven Myhre asked the judge to counsel Ryan not to use the Constitution and his personal interpretation when presenting his opening statement.

Here is what he said: Thank you very much for being here. I told you a little about myself at Voir Dire, but I’d like to introduce myself a little more and tell you about my heritage and how that affects my case. (he projects a photo of his family for all to see and leaves it up throughout his statement) “This is my ID! Not my driver’s license, this is who I am, a man with a family, and I will do whatever it takes to provide for them. I want you to picture in your minds…you’re out on the land…I’ll take you to our ranch, you can see all the beauty of the land, the fresh air, the sunsets, the sunrises, the brush, you are on a horse in front of the cattle−place yourself there−feel the freedom−out of the congestion of the cars−that’s how I was raised, playing in the river, we were called river-rats, and that is where my life began, and I hope ends.
My family has been on that land for 141 years, my pioneer ancestors settled there in 1877 – there was nothing there. They carved out a living…they brought a horse and wagon and some provisions…this case the government is ‘not about rights’, but it is−those rights do mean something−rights are created through beneficial use.

“When my ancestors arrived, undoubtedly the horse would need a drink, so they lead them to the water, and that is beneficial use. The horse and perhaps a cow that had been lead behind the wagon needed to eat some brush in the hills, that is beneficial use. That established rights. The water rights are real! So real, the state of Nevada has a water rights registry including watering rights, including livestock watering rights. A law was created to protect those rights. The water rights that my father owns were first registered in 1891 by the state of Nevada−the state of Nevada is important, a sovereign state, it’s own unit which entered the union in (1864). It entered equal to the original states, it is its own entity and state laws are important.

“My family and I are charged with some grievous things and they are not true, and evidence will show that they are not; force, manipulation, extortion, violent−my family is not a violent family and I am not a violent man. For 20+ years we turned to our local law enforcement. Rights are real property. The fact is we create government to protect rights.
“To have rights you must claim, use and defend. There is a difference between rights and privileges. Rights you own. Privilege is afforded. Like renting or owning a house. Government asserts there are no rights, only privileges, and unless we pay we can’t be there. The state of Nevada says differently. These are my father’s rights. Everything we have comes from the land. That is wealth, not the dollar bill. Who controls the land controls the wealth.

“We create government to serve us. These are some of the beliefs of my family. That we have said, we will do whatever it takes to defend is not a threat, it is a statement. Being right here before you today is part of doing whatever it takes−the Founding Fathers pledged whatever it would take−their lives, their fortune and their sacred honor to defend rights. With the evidence you will see, that is what we are doing; there was no conspiracy to impede, to harm…but, to protect our heritage that our pioneer ancestors established.

“We are attacked, surrounded by what appeared to be mercenaries, snipers pointed directly at me. You will hear a report from a sniper that he was keeping watch of me in my van with my wife and two of my daughters with me.

“At our ranch−children are always welcome−it is a place to play, play in the river, the pond, chase or hunt rabbits, burn your toes in the hot sand in the summer−always free.
“Never before did we feel like someone was watching. In early spring of 2014 we felt that someone was always watching…the dogs were watching the hills, when you are always with a dog you get to know what they are saying with their bark…you can tell by their bark what they are seeing…surveillance cameras on the hill, the dog looking at another and growling (tears flowing) …this is not what America is supposed to be. It is supposed to be a land of liberty. The Founding Fathers fought and bled so we wouldn’t have to and now we find ourselves in a similar situation.

“They say this issue is over grazing fees, it’s terrible, terrible, he must be a freeloader−it’s only rhetoric−I’ll tell you why−you don’t pay rent when you own your home! We own those rights! Not the land, I know we don’t own the land. We own water and grazing rights. We don’t pay rent for something we own.

“The BLM was formed in 1960. Our rights were established in 1877, long before the BLM.. The original states own 100% of their land and all states were to come in on equal footing. The crux of the issue is, are rights to free speech taken? First Amendment was put into the Supreme Law of the land, the Constitution.−they shall make no law restricting these things…as you saw in the video yesterday, my brother was not impeding, not blocking, he was on the state road, on its right-of-way, simply to take pictures with his ipad of them stealing our cattle−they attacked him, threw him to the ground.”

With quivering lips, he continued, “The American people saw this and came not to impede or do harm. They came because they felt the Spirit of the Lord, spirit of freedom, and felt ‘We the People are not going to put up with that behavior.’ It was not pointed out there were snipers on the hill, I witnessed that through binoculars and the evidence will show this.’”
“Back to Richfield, Utah, evidence and witness testimony will show there was not a ruckus there that disrupted or shut down the auction. I called the sheriff−that’s the pattern−the local LE and state brand inspectors in Nevada, Utah and Arizona and I had contact with the highway patrol, county commissioners in several counties and state officials−not all face-to-face, but some through phone calls. Is this what a criminal does? No! We were protecting life, liberty and property.
“You saw the video of them hip-chucking my Aunt Margaret, 50+ years of age and just finished with cancer treatment, the mother of 11 children.
“They call them BLM guys Law Enforcement, but they are not, they are just BLM employees. All authority comes from We the People, we delegate authority to the county sheriff who we elect and who hires deputies, and then we have a sheriff’s department to protect our life, liberty, our property.

“Choosing for yourself is freedom and we have no right to impede or harm others. That’s God’s law. Man-made law is to follow that. Man is supposed to be free, not controlled, serfs or slaves. Government is to be our servant. The government went in and shut-down 600,000 acres−not one of us went into their enclosed area and never impeded them.
“Even my brother driving into the dump truck…isn’t that impediment? The court order did not allow the destruction of water infrastructure. What was a dump truck doing out there? Since that was beyond the scope of the so-called court order, we had a right to know. They could have stopped and answered our questions, but no, they sent out attack dogs and tasers and threw Aunt Margaret to the ground.

“Every incident they are charging us with happened on property owned by the state of Nevada. Even if BLM had authority to close-off public land, they have no authority to close state of Nevada public land−the fence on the state of Nevada land.
“Except by invitation you will not see one of us breach that fence or impede the gather. We did not violate the court order. Davy went over the fence by the invitation of Dan Love and the sheriff took over and asked for our help to take down the fence. And then the cowboys, led by sheriff squad cars went to release the cattle. The sheriff honored his oath and did his job.
He should have done it sooner.

“I love my family, I love them. I love this land. I love freedom.. I came from the state of Nevada. I am a true Nevadan. I mentioned before that Nevada became a state on October 31st and we always get out of school on that day…I always thought we got out because it was my birthday.
“I am a true Nevadan, I believe you are, too and love freedom as much as I do. Freedom’s not being lost overseas−it’s lost right here at home in our back yards−our front yards. Until we are willing to do whatever it takes, liberty will be, is being lost.

“We are not anti-government! Government has its proper place and duties to perform. I want government to do its job. Nothing more. Nothing less. When government does more or less than its job, it becomes the criminal. When someone harms or damages another’s rights, liberty or property that is the definition of a criminal. Extortion, violence, pointing guns−everything we are charged with they were doing and thousands came running−the world knew about this−China, Ireland (they sent us a flag), New Zealand and other countries−why? Because America stood for freedom and has for years and the world is interested in seeing how America will deal with freedom. The world wants to know. The American people said, ‘yes we will stand for freedom. Government you’ve gone too far and we will put a stop to it.’”

“The courts have a place. It is said that We the People are the fourth branch of government. I say we are the first. The legislature to make laws, the executive to execute laws and the judicial to judge− all three branches is to protect our rights, our rights, freedom, liberty. Government does not have a right in and of itself−man creates government to fulfill and protect rights.
“Evidence will show my father and brothers are innocent men. We need you to put on to that paper that we are not guilty. You are the twelve to represent us, peers, equals, people…We the People.

“Guns…lots of guns…scary…camo…freedom of speech…also the right to bear arms, the second amendment…a militia was necessary.
“What is a militia? It is defined in law. U.S. Code defines militia: All able-bodied men 17-45 years of age. How many of you are a member of the militia?
”The state of Nevada extended that and includes men up to the age of 64. How many of you are a member of the Nevada militia? There is the organized militia, the National Guard and the unorganized militia−everyone else.

“Why did the Founding Fathers include the Second Amendment? Was it for duck hunting? No…no! The militia is mentioned 6 times in the Constitution. Such a small document and few things are mentioned more than the militia; the central government of this union and yet media or whatever wants to put a bad face on militia.

“Why did militia come to Bundy ranch? To peacefully assemble, redress of grievances. No one was harmed…except Davy, Ammon and Aunt Margaret. You will not see in evidence that we ever harmed anyone! They attack and we turned the other cheek. We were peaceful−insistent? Yes! And yes! Demanding. These men, these people did not come to seek an opportunity to point guns at government.
“Hundreds, even thousands of people we didn’t know. That’s exemplary. These people came to do good, to protect me, to save my life. I had a sniper pointed at me, 200 armed men surrounding my home, my family (Very emotional with tears) Ryan Payne has been portrayed as a bad man. Evidence will show otherwise. He saved my life. He saved my life. Others came. I didn’t even meet most of them until I was in jail with them, may have seen them in passing, but I didn’t know them until jail. I honor and thank them now! I thank all who came.

“We only have rights we are willing to fight for. You will see evidence that I was nearly always with the sheriff or a deputy.−always in communication with them−I was side-by-side with Lombardo.

“Thank you for coming, for being here. I will still do whatever it takes. This is not a threat, it is a determination. I love my freedom. I listen to the still, small voice to discern between truth and error.
“The indictment and grand jury testimony is full of lies. Truth has been blocked in previous trials. The truth will set me free and I am counting on you to help me see that.
“I invite you to our ranch. I recognize your right to use the land. We want you to come out and enjoy it. I thank you for this time. Please find me not guilty and those other men not guilty. Stand up for freedom. Thank you.”

The jury hung onto every word Ryan said. It was a spirit filled and professional presentation. He had spoken from the heart. At times tears obstructed his vision, his mouth quivered and his voice broke as he spoke of his family and love of country.
During break, people, including me, offered praise for his presentation. Although he appreciates the kind remarks, he does not like to be praised. It bothers him. He does not want to take credit for something God had His hand in.

Nov. 15-16, 2017
The First Witness, Mary Rugwell
The first witness to be called was Mary Rugwell, former BLM Director for Southern Nevada. She talked about how patient she and the agency had been with Cliven Bundy.
Rugwell talked about the 1976 Federal Land Policy Act of 1976, a bill passed by congress to spell out management policies and procedures for the BLM. She talked about the Desert Tortoise being placed on the Federal Endangered Species List in 1990. However, she did not tell the jury the endangered status is the primary reason 52 ranchers in the Gold Butte region went out of Business.
It has been proven that cattle do not harm the Desert Tortoise, instead they eat the dung that provides nutrients and moister they need to survive the harsh desert climate.

The Center for Biological Diversity is the engine behind the tortoise’s endangered status. Joined by other environmental groups, they are the main culprits behind land grabs in the 11 western states. During testimony Rugwell admitted she decided to impound the cattle after she talked to The Center for Biological Diversity.

Rugwell also failed to mention how the ranchers were run out of business. As soon as the tortoise was placed on the endangered list, the BLM began an active campaign to get all cattle off of public lands in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts. The slogan “No Moo by ’92 and Cattle Free by ‘93” had been, and is, a real goal.

The BLM began their campaign by decreasing cattle per water right from 1,200 to eventually 89 cows. If a rancher ran a herd of 3,000 cows and had10 water rights, it meant the rancher could only range 890 cows on public land. The other 2,010 cows would have to be ranged somewhere else or be sold. Most ranchers, who had been grazing on public lands for 100 years or more, had nowhere else to graze their cattle. They had no other choice but to sell and settle for a smaller herd size in the future, or go out of business.

At first the ranchers fought the BLM with law suits, but received no help from the courts, just like with Cliven Bundy. The BLM fought back with a campaign of harassment, a topic I have covered in an earlier chapter. They cancelled grazing permits, took water rights, fenced off water and closed roads, including private and county roads−all unlawfully. The federal courts, without exception, backed up the BLM. This would ensure ranchers could not make a living without public land at their disposal.
Out of the 53 ranchers, Cliven Bundy was the only one who chose to stay and fight for his rights. He refused to “let the BLM manage him out of business.” If the other 52 ranchers had stood with him from the beginning, the problem would have been resolved and the ranches would still be thriving.

Some ranchers declared bankruptcy and sold out to the BLM for pennies on the dollar. Others chose not to fight, choosing instead to keep what land they could so they would have something to pass on to the next generation.

Once a rancher removed his cattle off of public land the water rights automatically reverted to the state of Nevada. The BLM would then apply for and be granted those rights. Some of the ranchers sold their rights directly to the BLM for a handsome sum, which amounted to a legal bribe. That is how they have been able to sow up water rights and stop public land grazing, not only on Gold Butte, but everywhere else in the west.

Next, Rugwell talked about petroglyphs that are found on rock facings on the former Bunkerville Allotment. She said a study was done by a BLM archeologist that determined cows had caused damage by rubbing against rocks the petroglyphs are on. He has never witnessed a cow rubbing against petroglyphs, but somehow determined they are the culprit because he saw cows in the vicinity.
Ammon’s attorney, Morgan Philpot, asked if damage had been done to petroglyphs by Bundy cattle. She could not answer. Philpot then pointed out that sandblasting had been carried out by the BLM.

Payne’s attorney, Brenda Weksler made sure the jury knew that Ryan Payne’s name was not mentioned and was not on any document involving water and grazing rights prior to the stand-down.
The prosecution admitted Payne’s name was not in any documents concerning Cliven Bundy, but did insist that Ammon and Ryan Bundys names were mentioned. The defense proved otherwise.

The prosecution then presented a threat assessment document written by the BLM that rated Cliven Bundy a “Moderate” risk. Rugwell was asked if she agreed with the assessment, but testified that she thought Bundy was not a threat.
Rugwell then said the government offered Cliven Bundy what she considered a “fair deal.” They offered to roundup, transport and sell the cattle at their own expense, and then give Bundy all of the proceeds from the sale. This might seem reasonable to some people, but to Cliven Bundy it meant the end of ranching. If the cattle were removed he would then, by Nevada law, forfeit his 11 water rights. Since his 160 acres of private land would not support enough cattle for him to make a living, he would essentially be out of business, just like the other 52 ranchers.
Beware when the government tells you it is your benevolent protector.

Rugwell testified that damage to public lands by Bundy cattle was put at $272,000, with fees, not the $1,000,000 as claimed. By damage I guess she means the amount of sagebrush eaten by each cow.

The first impoundment was scheduled for 2012. County Commissioner Tom Collins told Rugwell, “If you do an impoundment, you will fail. Eventually the impoundment was called off.

To show her willingness to cooperate, Rugwell said she offered Cliven Bundy a Summer Grazing Permit. What she failed to mention, the permit was limited to 50 cows and was in an area where there was no water or feed. It is funny how such important facts are left out.

When asked by Cliven’s attorney, Brent Whipple, who owned the water, Rugwell admitted that the state of Nevada did. She also recognized those rights are granted by the state. She admitted, under oath, that Bundy owned water rights on the Bunkerville Allotment, Mormon Mountain, Mormon Mesa, and the Gold Butte area. She also recognized the deeds that showed Bundy’s ownership. Whipple put up a photo that confirmed the rights were real property and taxed just like real property.
The prosecution objected every time water rights were mentioned. They did not want the jury to know anything about water rights, or should I say, Bundy water rights.

Nov. 21-23, 2017
A Sneaky Motion on a Sunday Evening

On the following Sunday the prosecution filed a motion at 6 pm asking Judge Navarro to disallow any mention of water rights, arguing Jury Nullification. In other words, the jury might feel empathy for the Bundys and acquit.
Before the jury was brought in, and after several hours of argument for and against, Navarro ruled that the words “Water Rights” could not be mentioned. The words, “Range Improvements” and “Range Law” could only be used in questioning witnesses.
This did not stop the defense, during cross examination, they masterfully manipulated ways to get water rights mentioned without actually using the words−they would say things like, “pipes used to transport water,” and other phrases to get their point across. They pointed out that Ammon blocked a dump truck pulling a backhoe that was loaded with water pipes the BLM had dug up. It was also pointed out the pipes were private property and taking out infrastructure was not in any of the court orders.
The prosecution objected, saying the defense was using a “back door” approach at Jury Nullification. They asked the court to prevent the defense from presenting anything that would be “Self Serving.” They did not want anything presented to the jury that would make Cliven Bundy look good in the eyes of the jury.

Terry Petrie, a DOJ lawyer in the Environment and Natural Resource Division was the second witness to take the stand. He handled the Bundy case starting in 2012 until the present. Petrie had interviewed Cliven to get his point of view about grazing rights, water rights and other range matters. He also attempted to persuade Cliven to remove his cattle, and after that failed, questioned what his reaction would be if the government instigated an impoundment.
The deposition was presented by the prosecution, but had not been admitted as discovery for the defense. During a hearing Navarro ruled that it be made available, but allowed the prosecution to redact anything they considered sensitive. The defense said they would be forced to put Cliven on the stand to testify if the material was redacted.
Ryan Payne’s attorney, Ryan Norwood, asked the court for the deposition without the redacted material arguing that it was a violation of the Fifth Amendment to exclude part of a testimony. He wanted the jury to hear the redacted material so they would not be prejudiced toward his client. “The jury should hear a fair argument,” he told the judge.
“The court does not agree the jury needs to hear a fair argument,” Navarro answered. In the end she told the prosecution to give the defense another copy of the deposition, but some things could still be redacted to protect certain people and private information.

During the deposition it was revealed that Petrie had asked what Cliven would do if they tried to impound his cattle, and he replied, “I will do whatever it takes.” Petrie then asked if that meant physical harm. Cliven replied, “I will never tell what it means. I’m not fighting the government.” He then qualified his statement by saying “it depended on how far the government would push him and his neighbors.”
Cliven also told Petrie that he expected the sheriff, who had the authority, to intervene and protect him, but said, “I don’t expect the sheriff to do it all. I have to do something myself.”
Petrie once again asked Cliven if he would try and stop him from impounding his cattle. Cliven answered again, “I will do whatever it takes.” Cliven also told Petrie that he would file a criminal complaint if the BLM took action.
The prosecution tried to convince the jury that “I will do whatever it takes” was a threat. Whipple, on cross, asked Petrie, “Where did you find the concern” that his client meant harm? Petrie avoided the question by saying Mr. Bundy ignored court orders to vacate, and he made a remark saying, “I have to take that same front seat and stand up for my rights,” referring to Rosa Parks’ protest against segregation.
Whipple asked Petrie if he personally felt threatened by Cliven Bundy. He said he did not. He was then asked if Mr. Bundy had been confrontational during the meeting. “Mr. Bundy was not confrontational,” he answered.
Whipple then made the point, “Cliven Bundy has been doing “whatever it takes for 25 years.”

Next the prosecution brought up a Threat Assessment prepared by the BLM prior to 2012. A threat assessment is a written report done as a precaution for law enforcement to evaluate if a person or persons pose any danger during an attempted arrest, and if so to what extent. It is standard operating procedure for law enforcement before an operation is commenced.
The original BLM threat assessment for Cliven Bundy was completed prior to Petrie being assigned to the case and was rated as “Moderate,” but Petrie, after being assigned to the case, had upgraded it to a “High.”.
The prosecution read several statements from the threat assessment where people suggested Bundy was dangerous. One person even said he feared getting shot.
Brent Whipple objected saying they had not received a copy of the assessment. Once again more evidence had been withheld from the defense. Navarro, sounding surprised, asked Myhre, “A threat assessment was not prepared for the court?” Then she asked, “Were negative comments used from that assessment?” Myhre said yes to both.
Navarro ordered the prosecution to give the defense a copy saying they had a right to know what it said. This turned out to be a gift. The assessment did have some negative remarks, but it also had some very positive things people had said about Cliven. A National Park Service ranger, sheriff deputies and others stated that Cliven Bundy was not dangerous and never felt threatened by him. Some even remarked that they liked and respected him. One NPS agent said, “Mr. Bundy talks big, but I don’t think he will shoot anybody.” It was clear the prosecution wanted the jury to see Cliven Bundy as a dangerous man that would do “whatever it takes” to keep his cattle from being impounded.

During a hearing Judge Navarro would discover, once again, that the government had not turned over a piece of evidence to the defense, in this case, Ryan Bundy, who was acting as his own attorney.
While reviewing some discovery material Ryan found a mention of an FBI threat assessment. In April of 2017 he asked the prosecution to turn over this threat assessment so he could review it. The prosecution never responded.
Ryan stood and told Navarro he had requested the information last April, a full 8 months before the trial. “They mocked me” he said. “They just mocked me.” Navarro asked Myhre if he knew anything about an FBI threat assessment. They denied one existed, but said they would investigate.

Later the prosecution said they had found the FBI threat assessment, but had nothing of value the defense could use. The judge disagreed and ordered Myhre to turn over any information the prosecution had to the defense.
This turned out to be another gift. The 15 page threat assessment rated Cliven Bundy as a “Low” threat, just the opposite of the BLM assessment.
The prosecution should have been reprimanded by the court, but Navarro chose to ignore this blatant attempt, like the previous attempts, to hide important evidence that would go a long way in proving Cliven Bundy’s innocence.
The jury would go home with a more positive view of Cliven Bundy, not just because of the “Low” rating the FBI assessment had revealed, but because the prosecution had lied in an attempt to make him look bad in their eyes. I think they were beginning to see a pattern.

Navarro asked Mr. Petrie from the bench if he had information on the good comments that was omitted. He replied, “I did not.” Later he corrected himself saying he did see documents with positive remarks.
Ammon’s attorney, Dan Hill, asked Petrie if he had at any time been in contact with the prosecution. Petrie admitted he had met in person with Dan Schiess on 2 occasions. He was asked if there had been other times he had met with the prosecution. He said he had a conference call with Nadia Ahmed, a member of the prosecution team, along with the FBI. The defense argued this was an attempt to entrap, but Navarro did not agree.
Dan Hill, one of Ammon’s attorneys, argued that Petrie was biased when judging the Bundys as “threatening” when in pretrial he stated that he was not. During cross examination he also admitted that he did not feel personally threatened.

In another attempt to convince the jury that Cliven Bundy was a dangerous man, Dan Schiess said that High Country News had quoted Bundy saying he would” get physical” if the BLM attempted to take his cattle. Immediately Bret Whipple produced a copy of the article and asked Petrie to read where it said Cliven would” get physical.” He could not because it was not there.
Another gift had been given to the defense.

The prosecution once again tried to paint Cliven Bundy as uncooperative and unreasonable. He asked Petrie if the National Park Service had called Cliven to ask him to remove cattle that had wandered onto NPS land. He said yes, but Mr. Bundy had only removed some of the cows. Addressing the judge, Schiess charged that Bundy “only made a marginal effort to get the cattle off of NPS land” because all of the cows had not been removed.
Whipple objected pointing out that the exchange had been pleasant between the NPS agent and Mr. Bundy. He said Mr. Bundy had rounded up 150 cows the first time and another 30 head the second time. Cliven then told the NPS agent that he “got all that he could find.” It was even pointed out that Cliven was given keys to the gate. It seemed that all efforts to indict Clive Bundy as an uncooperative scalawag had not worked.

Petrie was asked by Whipple if a criminal charge had ever been litigated against Cliven Bundy, and did criminal charges ever come up during meetings and discussions. Petrie said that none were litigated, nor discussed. Whipple then asked if the matter of grazing fees was criminal or civil. Petrie replied, “It is civil.”

Another document that had not been turned over to the defense was an email sent by Dan Love to Mr. Petrie, who in turn had sent it to the prosecution. Again, the prosecution denied knowing anything about it. A motion was filed by the defense asking the court to compel the government to turn it over. In the email, Love, during an anti-terrorism meeting, was very critical of the BLM. He made the remark that the BLM had failed for many years to do their job by not enforcing court orders to get Bundy cattle off of public land.
This could be important information explaining why Love ignored orders to stop the operation the day before the stand-down occurred.

Opening Arguments

Prosecution’s Opening Statement

It should be pointed out that Steven Myhre filed a 26 page motion on September 24, 2017 to restrict what the defense could present. “Allegations of workplace misconduct by the Special Agent in Charge of the impoundment, or regarding those who worked for, or with, him” and “Allegations that officers connected with the impoundment acted unethically or improperly by the way they were dressed or equipped during the impoundment, or that they improperly shredded documents during or after impoundment operations.” If this happened it would guarantee a guilty verdict because the jury would not see sealed evidence, including how Dan Love ordered evidence to be shredded.

On the first day of partial freedom Ryan Bundy arrived in front of the courthouse in a white limousine rented by a friend. “This is the first time I have ridden in a limousine,” he told the waiting crowd.

Instead of being on the other side with the other defendants, Ryan sat with supporters in the gallery to watch the hearing of Micah McGuire. McGuire had been part of the security detail during the stand-down and had 11 charges against him. In a plea deal he pleaded guilty to one felony conspiracy charge to impede or injure a federal officer. By accepting the plea deal it would guarantee that he would not serve over 6 years. Judge Navarro set a sentencing date for February 16, 2018.

The 32 year old McGuire had spent 20 months in jail without bail or even a trial date, and then the government offers him a deal that would lessen his sentence and allow him to go free and live with his mother until his sentencing.
Every one asked the question, why couldn’t they have released him 20 months ago? I expect it is because they wanted to punish him as long as possible.
Maguire took the plea deal at the advice of his lawyer who plans to ask for time served. They seem confident that the request will be granted.
Lisa Bundy said this about McGuire, “Micah McGuire is someone that I will always admire. His innocence is real and he is a hero in my eyes. I’m glad he is with his family. He is innocent and no deceitful plea agreement will ever ring true in my eyes…not ever! I’m pretty sure all that Micah was armed with was binoculars…binoculars!”
None of the other defendants are angry that he took the deal. No one blames him. They are happy he is free and with his family.

The defense asked the prosecution to turn over emails from the FBI concerning Dan Love. The prosecution claimed no knowledge of FBI emails and asked for a continuance to gather information from the FBI. Each defense lawyer was asked if they agreed.
Payne’s attorney called for a mistrial.

Ryan Bundy rose and said, “It is ludicrous to have my family imprisoned.” He insisted that his family be released if a continuance was granted. “Your honor, I think it is ludicrous that defendants who have plead guilty through a plea deal are rewarded with freedom from pretrial detention, but if defendants maintain their innocence they are punished with prison prior to any conviction. It is upside down. We are not presumed innocent, if we have to spend time in prison without any conviction. I oppose any continuance and I agree with the other attorneys that the remedy is a mistrial.”

It took guts to say that. His release could have been revoked if that statement had struck a wrong cord with the judge. Ryan stood straight and spoke boldly, mincing no words. It was, in my opinion, a brave, but true statement.

After further discussion Navarro gave the government from November 16-19 to explore evidence. She then seated the jury.
Myhre gave the opening for the government. He talked about the court order given to evacuate the cattle from public land. He noted that no grazing fees were paid after 1993 and the BLM had sued Cliven in 1998 after he refused to obey court orders. In July 2003 Cliven Bundy was given 45 days to remove his cattle. He refused. This is when he said “I will do whatever it takes to protect our property.”

Myhre said the BLM offered to roundup the cattle at their expense, sell them, and give the proceeds to Cliven, but he refused to accept their offer. Myhre acted as though the BLM was doing him a favor by running him out of business.
If Cliven had accepted the BLM’s offer he would have given up his water rights forever, which was the BLM’s ultimate goal.

The prosecution said that in February 2014 Sheriff Gillespie visited Cliven to try and work out a deal and ease tensions, but nothing was accomplished.
Myhre said that helicopters were used to roundup the cattle. What he did not mention was that Bundy cattle were chased and run to death by the helicopters. Nor did he mention how some cows were shot from BLM helicopters and buried in a mass grave. He said nothing about it being calving season and that many of the calves were left without a mother to feed them. Some starved or died of thirst, but that was not mentioned.

Myhre talked about how a call was given for militia to come armed. He claimed that Ryan Payne sent out false emails and social media messages saying that the BLM was there, armed, and ready to take the Bundy cattle. He told how Payne had asked for militia to come to the Bundy ranch to stop the cattle from being taken. He showed photos of militia with guns to prove his point. He then gave a summary of what happened on April 12, 2014 and talked about how frightened the officers were of losing their lives that day.

Myhre gave an account of what happened at an auction site in Richfield, Utah. The cattle were collected by hired cowboys and taken to an auction house to be sold. Ryan Bundy and other protesters traveled to Richfield to stop the sale. He said that signs were hung that said, “Stolen cattle for sale.” Myhre than claimed that Ryan caused a disturbance and threatened force to get the cattle back. He said the sheriff had to be called to stop it.

The prosecution tried to explain away why Dave Bundy was arrested on April 6, 2014. They claimed that Dave and Ryan were on federal land blocking a convoy road. The BLM demanded they leave, but Davey refused. They told Ryan to leave, but refused to go without his brother. Finally, he said, Ryan agreed to leave to avoid being arrested.

According to Myhre, Cliven sent out a social media message saying, “They got my cattle, now they’ve got my boy, and the BLM has us surrounded.”
Next they focused on Ryan Payne and Operation Mutual Aid Defense, saying he reached out on websites for militia help. Payne supposedly sent a message that said, “I’m here as head of Operation Mutual Aid, we are here to prevent tyranny.”

Myhre claimed that the militia was just “looking for something.”
Myhre next brought up Pete Santilli, who does social media broadcasts on his Guerilla Network. He said that On April 9, 2014 Santilli broadcast that the Bundys are being abused. “If you have a gun you need to come and show a show of force.” He then claimed that Santilli blocked a convoy on SR-170.
The government then gave their version of what happened at the protest site when the convoy was blocked. They said that Ammon rammed an ATV into a truck to stop a convoy. He then swung at a BLM agent. After that, Myhre said, Ammon attempted to kick a dog, and that was when he was tased. They even claimed the dog was tased because of Ammon. Myhre also claimed that Ammon grabbed an officer’s arm and was tased the second time.

Myhre claimed that Ammon explained away his actions by saying, “Our whole goal was to make a big enough stink that the sheriff would interfere.”
Myhre closed by saying, “It is not about the Second Amendment, not about a protest, not a statement of beliefs. They get their way at the point of a gun.”

The opening argument was given for the defense by Morgan Philpot. He began by giving some background about the ranch. “Bundy ranch was started in 1877 and had water rights to 11 springs and the river. Cliven bought the ranch from his father in 1962.”
Next he explained that the Desert Tortoise was placed on the Endangered Species List in 1988. Cliven had a survey done by the Fish and Wildlife Service that said the tortoise is in no danger.

The Desert Tortoise was placed on the endangered species list for one reason, to get cattle off the range and run the ranchers out of business. The BLM succeeded in getting rid of 52 ranchers. Cliven Bundy refused to be 53rd.

In 1992 Cliven decided to fight. He knew he would lose his water rights if his cattle were removed from the range.  He fought back for the next 25 years.
Philpot talked about how the BLM threatened to use the IRS against him. When Cliven sent a letter the IRS of protest, the action was stopped.

“Once Cliven Bundy and the other ranchers signed a contract,” Philpot explained”the BLM  reduced the herd size from 159 cows to 89 per water right.” Ranchers could not make a living.

The BLM claims that Cliven owes one million dollars in grazing and other fees, but the real amount is less than a hundred thousand dollars.
Philpot said that Cliven Bundy had “done whatever it takes” for 25 years. He said the BLM started collecting cattle for 2 weeks beginning on March 28, 2014 and during that time Bundy obeyed the law and protested. He did not interfere, or as the government claims, impede the roundup.
Philpot talked about how BLM and FBI agents with AK-47 rifles were there in full battle gear. Cameras, he said, were moved every night for 7 nights. Something the government denied. On April 6, 2014 Cliven called Metro to help.

Philpot countered the government’s argument that Ryan Payne and Clive Bundy stirred up trouble by sending false messages on social media asking people to come, was not the reason people came. He said that Davy’s beating was the primary cause for people coming. After Davy’s beating Carol Bundy called for help. Another video showing Cliven’s sister, Margaret, a grandmother and cancer survivor, being “hip chucked” to the ground for simply standing and protesting. The prosecution had claimed she had rushed toward a BLM officer, but a video showed proof that she did not.

The prosecution had shown several still photos during opening argument showing Ammon and other protesters in compromising situations. They were presented and explained to the jury in a way to show the protesters and the Bundys in a bad light. When the defense showed video proof debunking the prosecution’s claims, the jury took note.

The prosecution claimed the protesters escalated the standoff with the BLM and FBI, but proof was presented that the operation had been called off the day before. It was shown where Dan Love ignored  orders to end the operation, but continued anyway. It was also pointed out that Metro deputies were there to protect the protesters, not to protect the BLM from the protesters as the government claimed. Photos were shown where Metro had their guns trained on BLM snipers who were pointing their weapons on the protesters.

The prosecution made out that people who brought their horses was somehow impeding the BLM from doing their job. Morgan Philpot explained to the jury that in the west cattle were moved with horses. The jury smiled.

“April 12th was a celebration,” Philpot explained, “not a confrontation, but when protesters arrived at the wash they were faced with an army.”
Philpot listed the fatal flaws of the BLM and FBI: (1) The operation had ended the day before; (2) undercover agents were proven to be in with the protesters; (3) and Dan Love’s office had monitors.

Morgan Philpot showed a video of the protestors gathering for prayer at the wash. “They prayed for God’s help,” he said.” He ended by pointing out that people coming to help “had everything to do with what was beating in their chest. They came because they were Americans.”

Ryan Bundy’s Opening Statement

Ryan Bundy arrived at the courthouse on Wednesday November 15, 2017 prepared to give his opening statement. Friends and supporters gathered with Ryan in a prayer circle, as they did every day before trial, to offer a prayer of thanksgiving and to ask for God’s help and direction.

When everyone was seated and the jury was seated and instructed, Judge Navarro asked Ryan if he was ready to give his opening. Ryan walked over to the jury, but before he could get the first word out, Steven Myhre asked the judge to counsel Ryan not to use the Constitution and his personal interpretation when presenting his opening statement. It is a sad day when our Constitution, the very document that governs us, cannot be used in a court of law.

Ryan opened by stating that his family had been on the land for 141 years, long before the BLM existed. They settled in 1877 and water rights were granted in 1890. “We elect people to protect and defend those rights. If you don’t defend those rights, you lose it. Those who control the land control the wealth.” Referring to the statement the government is trying use against him, he said, “We will do whatever it takes is not a threat, but a determination.”

Talking about grazing fees, Ryan said he had heard the government has spent 6 million and possibly up to 100 million to collect 100 thousand dollars. That leaves me to believe that grazing fees is not the real issue. When the BLM put up a sign in their office that read, No moo by ’92 and cattle free by ’93, it suggest to me that they are willing to use any excuse to remove the cattle.

“Sovereignty is with ‘We the People.’ The Bill of Prohibition prevents the government from taking our rights.” Ryan was referring to the First Amendment Areas set up by the BLM, areas he referred to as “pig pens.”
Ryan talked about how he loved growing up on the ranch, the hard work, the good times, what it felt like to be free to roam the range, to go to the mountains, and be with family. He talked about how his family had always offered their home as a place of refuge to anyone who needed it. “No one has ever been turned away,” he said. “Everyone has always been welcomed.” He then invited the jury to visit when the trial was over so they could also enjoy the land as he always had. “You are welcome to come anytime,” he said.

The people that came to help came because they “Felt the spirit of the Lord. They felt freedom. They came because they love America.”
Ryan set the record straight with the jury about the day Davy was beat up and arrested. He and Davy were with their families in separate cars headed home after church when Davy stopped to take pictures of the BLM compound. He was not standing on public land, he explained, but was standing on state land and was not blocking a road as prosecution had claimed. “He was not threatening anyone.”
“Davy was beaten and arrested for taking pictures, he was not threatening anyone.” He paused and looked directly at the jury, and said, “There were 4 snipers on the hill pointing their guns at me.”

Talking the so-called disturbance at the auction house, Ryan said, “Where ever I went I was always in contacted with local law enforcement. I talked to state officials. I talked to local officials−I even talked to the governor. Is that what criminals do?”

Ryan, who has been charged with impeding federal officers from doing their job, emphasized that the BLM rounded up 400 cows and placed them in a corral without him interfering. “I did not impede rounding up of cattle.”
The prosecution accused the cowboys of riding their horses to the corral to forcefully remove the cattle. He pointed out that (Vice-Sheriff) Lombardo “led horses to the corral himself.”

Ryan mentioned that the operation had actually ended the day before and Dan Love had ignored the orders from his boss and the bosses in Washington and continued it anyway. He pointed out that Love and federal officers escalated the situation, not the protesters. He said, “The sheriff finally did his job” by taking control and putting an end to it.

The jury hung on every word Ryan said. It was a spirit filled and professional presentation. When someone praises him for doing such a good job, it bothers him. He does not want to take credit for something God had a hand in.

Free At Last

Nov. 13, 2017 Free At Last
After 30 minutes discussing and ruling on motions dating back as far as January 2017, Judge Navarro cleared the courtroom so some other unresolved motions could be discussed. They had to be resolved before the jury could be seated, otherwise it could result in a mistrial. After a six hour delay the public was finally allowed back into the courtroom.
Ammon Bundy’s detention motion was partially addressed on November 10th, but Navarro put off her decision until today, November 13th. The prosecution was determined to Keep Ammon behind bars. They pointed out again the 11 violations against him while in custody, 9 of which, as Myhre put it, “major severity”. He was accused of taking a thumb drive from the jail library back to his jail pod. The drive had discovery on it about his case that he was afraid might go missing. He received 15 days in solitary confinement.
Another violation was hindering a jail employee from doing his job by placing a T-shirt over his eyes to sleep. Other violations were refusing to submit to a barrage of strip-searches. Earlier, Navarro had agreed that the strip searches were excessive and ordered them to be stopped. He was also accused of disobeying an order to turn around in an elevator to avoid seeing a keypad code. Ammon’s attorney, Dan Hill, disagreed saying that is not how it happened. Hill corrected Myhre on several allegations, but to no avail. Navarro said that she could not overlook the violations and noted his refusal to follow rules.
Ammon’s wife, Lisa, who had flown in from Emmett, Idaho with high hopes, watched as her dreams of being with her husband for the first time in 2 years vanished with the words, “motion denied.” Navarro agreed with the government that Ammon remained a danger to the community and was a flight risk. Lisa held back tears while in the courtroom, but once outside the tears flowed. It was a bitter disappointment. She did not look forward to telling her children that they would not be able to hug their father. When their daughter’s birthday arrived last week Lisa asked her what she wanted, she said, “Mom, that’s a silly question, all I want is my daddy to come home.”
Navarro, in a surprise move, reversed her decision to detain Ryan Bundy. She allowed him to go to a half-way house with a monitoring device to track his movement. He will be allowed to go to church, meet with his co-counsel and the other defendants to prepare his case, and enjoy other privileges he deems necessary for trial preparations and anything security deems reasonable and agrees to. It was understood that he may get to go home to his family on weekends.
Ryan’s wife, Angie, was stunned. His mother, Carol and his sisters were equally stunned at the reversed fortune. Angie could not believe her good fortune. Her smile lit up the night.

Everyone waited behind the courthouse, thinking that was where Ryan would be brought out. After about an hour Ryan was finally released, but in front on the steps of the George D. Lloyd Federal Building, not the rear.
When the news of Ryan’s release reached family and supporters, everyone gave a big shout and started running. Angie left everyone in the dust. Carol, in her haste, took a tumble on the concrete ramp, but wasn’t hurt. Even if she had been hurt her happiness was greater than any pain she might have experienced.

I tried to run but all I could manage is a fast walk. I got there just in time to see Angie run into Ryan’s arms and smother him with kisses. Tears of joy fell like rain. His mother and sisters took their turn with long, tight hugs. Friends and supporters joined in with hugs, handshakes and well wishes.

Standing on the courthouse steps Ryan said, “I feel a burden come off me. I know that I’m not free yet. I still have a monitor and a whole bunch of rules. I still have a big burden because our freedoms aren’t yet won. I’m still not free myself, my brothers are still not free and this country is not free. There is a lot of work to be done. I’ll keep working hard and I’ve learned a lot. This incarceration I hated every day. Every day I hated it, yet I’m very thankful for it because I’ve grown so much. I’ve grown closer to my Father in Heaven. I’ve learned a lot about the law. I’ve learned a lot about people who are incarcerated and most of them are not what you think. I’ve seen the atrocities by the government upon many, many people, and I’m appalled by it. Our Constitutional rights are not being adhered to. We have a right to a speedy trial, a right to a fair trial a right to bail. So many of our rights are being violated−the court says they are not, but they are. My family has been abused, terribly abused, because the Sixth Amendment has not been adhered to.

After about 30 minutes, Ryan, wearing a black 3 piece suit, was whisked away by his attorney to the half-way house, but not before his wife handed him his white cowboy hat to wear. His children, at their home in Mesquite, Nevada, about a 50 mile drive from Las Vegas, were transported to the half-way house where they got to hug their dad.
I asked Angie how she felt, she said, “It’s bitter-sweet, because Ammon was not allowed to go free and Lisa is so sad.”
I had the chance to speak to Ammon’s attorney, Morgan Philpot, who volunteered to take Ryan to the half-way house. I asked him why the judge had changed her mind. “Because the prosecution lied so much,” he said.
The prosecution had claimed that Ryan was tased during an arrest in Utah 10 years ago. The defense produced a video proving otherwise. They also claimed that Ryan had a dispute at a cattle auction site where seized Bundy cattle were to be auctioned off. The defense was denied a chance to call the sheriff as a witness. The sheriff disputed the allegations saying that the protest was peaceful and no threats were made. The auction company later refused to sell the cattle.
After proof was presented that Myhre had lied, Navarro reversed her decision. I give the judge credit for that.
Stating untruths or half-truths appears to be the norm for the prosecution. It certainly was in the last two trials. The jury will have to decide if Ammon will ever be a free man.

 

Bundy Trial Updates

Fox Guarding the Hen House
On November 7, 2017 opening arguments were scheduled to begin. I got up at 4:00 am to drive the 120 miles to the Lloyd D. George Federal Courthouse in Las Vegas. I arrived 3 hours early. Seated in Judge Gloria Navarro’s court on the 7th floor. I watched as Cliven Bundy, Ryan Bundy, Ammon Bundy and Ryan Payne were led into the courtroom. The first thing I noticed was Cliven’s emaciated body. His face was gaunt, he looked to be sick. All of the defendants had lost weight, their faces showing signs of stress and worry. And no wonder, they were charged with conspiracy, extortion and various firearm charges and faced years in prison if convicted. They have not been with their families because they have been unlawfully jailed for almost 2 years.

Ryan Bundy, acting as his own lawyer, was wearing a dark three piece suit looking every bit the attorney. Ryan Payne was dressed in a blue shirt and gray pants. Cliven and Ammon Bundy were wearing an orange jumpsuit that said “Detainee” and “Inmate” on the back in bold black letters.
Navarro asked Ammon why he chose to wear the jumpsuit instead of civilian clothes. He answered, “I have no comment”. Navarro again asked him if he chose to wear it and if he was happy to do so. He replied in the affirmative. Cliven was asked the same question and he also replied in the affirmative.

Representing Cliven Bundy was Bret Whipple. Ammon was represented by Daniel Hill and Jay Morgan Philpot. Ryan Bundy had Magsoun Fletcher as stand-by counsel. Ryan Payne was represented by Shari Kaufman, Brenda Weksler and Ryan Norwood. The government was represented by Steven Myhre, Nicholas Dickenson and Erin Creegan, plus several stand-by attorneys.

Ryan Bundy had filed a motion to compel the government to turn over all evidence they had withheld. Ryan had also made a motion to dismiss the case because the prosecution had held back evidence that could be instrumental in proving their innocence. It could also have helped those in the two previous trials.

From testimony 3 weeks earlier it was revealed that the FBI had surveillance cameras trained on the Bundy home as early as March of 2014, one month prior to the cattle roundup, something the prosecution denied. The defense found out about the videos by accident when a U.S. Forest Service agent testified a few weeks earlier that she viewed video feed from multiple cameras for 4 days at the command center located near the Bundy ranch. This was never mentioned in the two previous trials. “It is difficult for the court to imagine there was a camera placed with no one watching it and making notes”, Judge Gloria Navarro told the prosecution. “It seems there should be somebody who has documentation or testimony as to why a camera was used.”

The defense had asked the prosecution for discovery by turning over any video or information they had not previously revealed, but was summarily ignored for 3 weeks. If such video did exist and the prosecution knew about it, that would be grounds for dismissal of the case. If the attorneys involved knew of the video and failed to disclose, they would be subject to being reprimanded, including disbarment.

Ryan Bundy said that cameras with lasers were pointed at the Bundy’s home. The prosecution claimed that a camera had been set up but had been knocked down after a day and a half and that no other cameras or video existed. The defense claimed that Dan Love, BLM Special Agent in Charge of the roundup could not be trusted when he claimed that he had not seen a video. Love has since been fired for tampering with evidence, lies and cover-up in the Burning Man case. He also claimed that the FBI was in charge of surveillance cameras and that he had nothing to do with it. Ryan Bundy also testified that snipers were there with rifles pointed at the family home, The government denied it.
Navarro agreed that the defense should be given any video, if it existed, that would help their case. I suspect she agreed because of agent Hinson’s testimony 3 weeks prior that those cameras did indeed exist, so she had no choice but to agree, and that is the only reason.

Because of the motions Navarro decided to put off opening arguments and gave the prosecution until the next afternoon to come up with any videos or notes that may be out there. Of course that is like asking the fox to guard the henhouse.
The jury was called in and sent home. She compelled them to come back on the following Tuesday.

Ryan then asked the judge to release him from jail since there was a continuance so he could have the same advantages as the other attorneys to properly prepare his case. Navarro stated that she would not rule on that until later. She did say that it might be possible for him to go to a halfway house where he could be watched, and that she would consider that. However, she gave a hint to what her decision would be when she cited the Bundy’s inability to follow rules. She would also have to take into consideration the safety of the community and the safety of the officers assigned to watch over him if he were to be released.

What exactly did Navarro think Ryan was going to do to harm the community, or federal marshals? A hearing was set for November 9th at 8:30 am for both sides to present their argument.

The prosecution claimed that only one camera was used in multiple locations and that no video existed. Navarro made her position known right away. She stated that if video did exist, it did not mean that it was discoverable.
If the video showed that snipers were pointing their assault rifles at the Bundy home on March 8, 2014 before the April roundup as the Bundys claimed, then it would prove that the FBI had lied by saying that no snipers were there.
Navarro gave the prosecution until 1 pm the next day to do their investigation and then adjourned for the day.

As I got up to leave the court room Ammon turned and saw me, broke out with a wide smile and waved. Cliven saw me and nodded. It did me good to see him smile and was happy to be there to offer my support. On the other hand I was very concerned at their poor appearance, but especially Cliven.

The next day, November 8, 2017 the courtroom filled with family, friends, supporters and reporters to hear if the prosecution had located any video.
Cliven Bundy’s nephew, Scott Sessions, testified that he saw three cameras at different locations. Steven Myhre, representing the government, said prosecutors had spoken to the technician who handled the camera, and a special agent who supervised its placement. He said that federal agents had reviewed FBI logs and found no records of any surveillance log kept. “None of our investigation reveals any recording was made from that surveillance camera,” he said.
Ryan Bundy and defense lawyers said they did not trust Myhre and asked why the technician and FBI agent could not be called to testify.
“I’m not satisfied with the offer of proof,” said assistant federal defender, Ryan Norwood, Ryan Payne’s attorney.
Myhre said that the defense was just using delay tactics and called the defense request “highly improper”. He (the fox) then said, “We’ve done our due diligence to discover and we’ve not found anything. None exist.”
Navarro told Myhre to look again. Myhre then asked Navarro if he could just respond on paper. She agreed, and that was the end of it. She never answered why the two witnesses could not be called to testify. Of course the explanation is simple: She did not want them to testify. She did not want to take a chance that crucial information might be revealed that would help the defense.

Ryan Bundy once again asked that he be released so he could properly prepare for trial and enjoy the same privileges the prosecution enjoyed. “If the judge wants to treat everyone equally the prosecutor should be placed in a jail cell next to me to prepare his case,” he said.
Dog and Pony Show
The next day, November 9th was the detention hearing where the defense would argue for their release and the prosecution would give their reasons why the Bundys and Ryan Payne should not be released. One whole side of the courtroom was filled with Bundy family member and friends. The Bundy children had books and drawing paper to keep them occupied. One carried a Teddy Bear. As they watched their father, Ryan Bundy, and Grandfather, Cliven Bundy, enter the courtroom − they wept and strained to see them.
Mel Bundy’s attorney requested that his client and Dave Bundy be allowed to join the hearing to argue for their release. Navarro denied the request and told them to file a separate motion.

Navarro immediately showed her bias by addressing the defendant’s past making them all look to be a bunch of lawless and dangerous thugs. The prosecution joined in by saying they were worried about the safety of the community and Navarro stated that she worried about the safety of officers assigned to oversee the defendants during their release. It was plain to me that she was setting the stage for the outcome. She already knew what her decision would be.

Cliven Bundy’s attorney, Bret Whipple, said that Cliven had 20 teeth when he entered detention and that he only had 10 or 15 left. He said instead of treating the infection they just pulled his teeth. “He has lost weight and cannot chew,” Whipple said. “Cliven refers to himself as just an old cow.”

The prosecution asked Navarro to deny the motion citing his lack of respect for rules and federal laws. For the next 20 minutes Cliven was called names and made out to be a hardened criminal that would stop at nothing, including killing. They accused him of being the chief conspirator and claimed he called for gunmen to come to the ranch to prevent his cattle from being taken by the BLM.
Navarro backed up the government by saying Cliven has been charged with crimes of violence, has recruited gunmen to challenge law enforcement, that he was the leader of the conspiracy and that was proof that he is a danger to women and children. “Motion denied.”
Never one time did Navarro use the word “allege” she tried him and judged him guilty without a trial, and she did it with pure venom in her voice and a look of delight on her face.
Immediately Shiree Bundy Cox, Cliven’s oldest daughter, stood and shouted, “Gloria Navarro, you are an evil, cold-hearted woman. You have no feelings.” The look on Shiree’s face was a mix of anger, extreme sadness and worry. She knew her father was a sick man and needed medical attention and the the care of his family.
Federal Marshals moved toward her. “I probably won’t be back,” she shouted as she stepped into the isle. “I love you Dad, I know you are innocent!”

As security and Deputy U.S. Marshals approached her she again shouted at Navarro, “You are a liar! I love you, Dad.” “Again she called Navarro evil and cold-hearted as she was escorted out.
Navarro calmly went to the next case, Ammon Bundy’s motion for release.

Daniel Schiess, acting for the government, started out by accusing Ammon of pointing a weapon at an officer; Dan Hill, Ammon’s attorney, objected, saying there was solid proof that he never carried a gun during the stand-down. Schiess continued by pointing out that Ammon had no respect for federal law. He also said Ammon has had run-ins with officers at the jail. The Malheur Refuge take-over was also mentioned, saying he was the chief conspirator, although he was acquitted of all charges. The Malheur case should have never been mentioned. An objection was over ruled without discussion. In fact almost every objection by the defense was stymied.

Hill, called Ammon to testify on his own behalf. As Ammon walked toward the witness stand I noticed he walked slightly slumped over and had his arms behind his back with his hands turned as if he were wearing hand cuffs. This is the way he has been forced to walk for 2 years. It was extremely bitter to see.
Once sworn in Ammon wasted no time telling Schiess that he was lying about him pointing guns at officers and that he never had a gun at the stand-off. Schiess, knowing he had been caught in a lie did not respond.

Hill asked Ammon if he were to be released would he obey a curfew, not be around guns, limit his travel, wear a monitoring device, not make statements that would incite protests. He then asked if he would have any problem coming to court, to come early and stay late.
Ammon looked directly at the judge and said that he would have no problem obeying the rules. “I give my word,” he said. Hill then asked if he would have a problem going back to jail if he violated the rules. “Absolutely,” Ammon replied, “If I break my word.”
Schiess stood for the prosecution and asked what he would do if the BLM started rounding up cattle again. Hill objected saying the question was leading the witness. Navarro immediately overruled him.
“I know my attorney has advised me not to answer, Ammon said, but I don’t mind answering any questions you have.”

“What would you do if the BLM started rounding up the cattle,” Schiess asked again.

Ammon’s answer was direct and truthful. “I would peacefully assemble as before.”
Addressing the judge, Schiess said, “His credibility is not worth your worth. He will not obey court orders because his principals get in the way. He can’t set aside his principals.”
Navarro asked Ammon directly if he would stay home. Ammon looked the judge in the eye and said, “I give my word that I will stay at home.”
“Would you obey the laws regardless of circumstances, even if it went against your principals?” Navarro asked.
Ammon paused and said, “It depends on the circumstances.” He then said that he would obey the law even if he did not agree with it.
Schiess then read out 11 rule violation Ammon has had while in jail. Of course he did not give the circumstances, things like, being verbally abused, pushed, shoved, threatened, starved, placed in solitary confinement for no reason and constantly strip-searched.

Schiess continued to try and make Ammon answer hypothetical questions hoping to make him say something that would make him sound untrustworthy and dangerous. He, like the others, accused Ammon of being a flight risk.
Surprisingly Navarro said that the prosecution had not shown sufficient evidence where Ammon should not be released.
I was shocked.
The judge said she would rule about Ammon’s release the following Monday, but qualified her statement. It was to give the government more time to find additional evidence as to why he should not be released.

The next to be considered was Ryan Payne. His attorney talked about his military service as a combat veteran of the war in Afghanistan where he had been deployed twice. It was noted that after his tour of duty Payne served in the Army reserve and was released with an honorable discharge. It was mentioned that Payne had PTSD, an anxiety disorder caused by a profound emotional trauma, like seeing someone killed in battle or related incidences of war. It was made known that he was not at the wash during the stand-down and no photos existed that showed him armed.
It was pointed out from the previous trial that Loveland and Drexler had guns and had pointed them at BLM agents, but was released to be with their families. Navarro acted as though she did not hear that statement.

The prosecution went on to paint Payne a loose cannon by mentioning that he was in a militia movement called Operation Mutual Defense. The word “militia” is connotative as an anti-government fringe movement, something dangerous.  They said that he had called for gunmen to come to the ranch to prevent Bundy cattle from being taken.

Prosecutor Nadia Ahmed accused Payne of positioning snipers where their weapons were trained on BLM snipers. Payne supposedly said, “If they acted by firing, then they would all be dead.”
It was also said that Payne could not follow rules.
Payne had served in the military for several years without having a problem with authority. He was a perfect soldier. When the roadblock ambush was set-up for the Malheur occupiers, Ryan was the first to give up without incident and followed all orders given him by the FBI and Oregon State Police, so I find that statement ludicrous.
Ahmed continued by asking, “Is he (Payne) a risk to the community? Would he hurt someone? Absolutely!”

Navarro wasted no time getting to the point. “There is not a change in circumstances as I hoped there would be. In light of new information with concerns brought up by the government about his statements, sugar coated by talking about his military record…it was not just talk, but action. The court finds no guarantee that harm will not come to the community. He called for gunmen and pleaded guilty of conspiracy to impede federal officers. The motion is denied.”
As with Cliven, Payne was tried and convicted by Judge Navarro. How would that sound to a jury? Would that be considered jury nullification?

Ryan Bundy, acting as his own defense, was the next defendant to plead for his release. His family still held out hope in spite of the other rulings.
The prosecution painted Ryan to be a perpetual offender. Past misdemeanor cases where he was not convicted were hashed over. The government accused him of not appearing for a court date. Ryan countered by saying that he did appear, that he had talked to the clerk and there was nothing on the docket concerning him. To make sure he was seen by the judge, he sat in the courtroom.

The prosecution continued to make accusations and painted Ryan, like the rest, to be dangerous and a flight risk.
The prosecution said that Ryan gave a diatribe on the Constitution and the federal government, and said this about the cattle impoundment, “We will do whatever it takes. You interpret that any way you want.”

Addressing the flight risk allegation, Ryan said, “I have no desire to be a fugitive. Where will I go? How would that benefit me? They would just find me and bring me back.” He also said that he did not want to be anywhere without his family.
In an attempt to make Ryan a liar, the prosecution said that he had claimed to have several businesses but no record of a business license could be found. Ryan answered, “I have been incarcerated for 2 years and could not renew my license.”

Ryan told Navarro that he could not prepare for his case physically, mentally and spiritually because they get him up at 3 am to be transported to court, stays in court all day, and then transported back to the jail. He told the judge that it is 9:00 pm or later until he is processed back in. “Because I get back late I do not get to eat,” he said. He mentioned that he goes without food for 10 hours or more. Because of travel time, court, and being processed back in at such a late hour, he said, “I am too tired to prepare my case properly.”

Ryan also told the judge that he is deprived of legal material and that his notes have been taken from him. He also mentioned how they kept his father and Ryan Payne chained to a table for hours for no reason.

Ryan then asked his family to stand. His wife, Angie, their 6 daughters and 2 sons stand, all looking hopeful that their father and husband will be released.  Ryan pointed out how much they have suffered because he has not been there for them, especially his children. He mentioned that he has not been able to make a living for them because he has been kept in jail.

Referring to Amendment 13 that says, Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Ryan remarked, “I am not a slave. I deserve some respect as an innocent man. I have been deprived of taking care of my family. I have been treated as if guilty. Pretrial conditions should not be a punishment. I have been punished.”

One of the earliest rulings concerning bail is the case of Hudson v. Parker, 1895, that said, federal law has unequivocally provided that a person arrested for a non-capital offense shall be omitted to bail. This traditional right to freedom before conviction permits the unhampered preparation of a defense, and serves to prevent the infliction of punishment prior to conviction.
Unless a person has been convicted of murder he cannot be denied bail. Not one defendant in this case has been charged with murder, but that does matter to Gloria Navarro. In the federal courts of the United States, run by corrupt, biased judges, laws no longer matter. They make their own.

Amendment VIII also says, Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted. The courts do not allow the Constitution to be argued in our courts any more, it is a vacant place in our society. It is a vacant place in Navarro’s court. She does not want arguments to be based on the law of the land. Almost all federal judges do not allow the Constitution to be used as a valid argument for acquittal.

Ryan Bundy had in his possession 34 letters from people in his community as a witness to his good character, but Judge Navarro was not interested in seeing them.
The prosecution talked about his role in the 2014 stand-off. Ryan replied by saying, “People came to do no harm. They came to help people, to protect liberty.”
Ryan told the court that he looked forward to defending himself. He promised to meet all pre-trial conditions and gave his word that he would appear in court. He gave an impassioned plea to Judge Navarro for his release. It was honest. It was sincere. He wanted to be free so he could be with his family, not to cause trouble.

Ryan Bundy gave a compelling case as to why he should be released.
It did not matter in the end. The prosecution strongly opposed his release stating that he was a danger to the community, that he would not follow the rules and that he was a flight risk.
Navarro agreed and denied Ryan’s motion for release.
His children held their hands over their faces and wept.

It is cruel to offer hope to the families, especially to the children who do not understand, as Navarro did. It is heartless to make families think there is a chance for their release with her knowing there is not one. It was all a cruel game. When the prosecution spoke she was spell bound, she glowed. When the defendants and their lawyers spoke, her countenance was totally different. She only gave the appearance that she was listening, that she was being fair-minded, that she was compassionate, when all along she knew what her decision was going to be. She only wanted to give the appearance that she was sympathetic toward the defendants, that she was a benevolent judge. It was all a dog and pony show for the public and media.
In the end she would show her true colors. She would rule in favor of the government regardless of what the defense would say or do. She is biased and everyone who has watched her in court can attest to it, including me