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.