Chaos erupts in courtroom after Bundy brothers, other Oregon occupiers found not guilty on federal charges

The trial lasted for weeks, though jury maneuver by the judge likely paved the way for the sweeping not guilty verdicts.

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This looks to me like a clear cut case of Jury Nullification. If you do not know how that works (and how to work it), learn. It is our very last hope for peaceful resolution. — jtl, 419

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A defense lawyer was tased and taken into custody after commotion erupted inside an Oregon courtroom when the leaders of a weeks-long occupation of a federal wildlife refuge were acquitted on all major charges Thursday.

Environmental & Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian ViewA group of rifle-toting protesters led by conservative ranchers Ammon and Ryan Bundy stayed at the Malheur National Wildlife refuge near Burns for 41 days before the final demonstrators surrendered to police in mid-February.

Combat Shooter's Handbook The Bundy brothers, along with five other defendants, were charged with federal counts including conspiring to impede wildlife refuge employees and possession of guns at a federal facility.

Reconnaissance Marine MCI 03.32f: Marine Corps Institute After handing down the not-guilty verdicts, Judge Anna Brown let all defendants go, except for Ammon and Ryan Bundy who face federal charges in Nevada, where their father, Cliven Bundy, held his own armed standoff against federal authorities in 2014.

The Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other MisfitsAmmon Bundy‘s lawyer, Marcus Mumford, told reporters outside the courthouse that U.S. marshals tased him after he urged Brown to release his client immediately.

A visibly shaken Mumford said he had simply asked the marshals to produce some paperwork for rearresting his client.

The Essence of Liberty: Volume I: Liberty and History: The Rise and Fall of the Noble Experiment with Constitutionally Limited Government (Liberty and ... Limited Government) (Volume 1)  The Essence of Liberty: Volume II: The Economics of Liberty (Volume 2) The Essence of Liberty: Volume III: A Universal Philosophy of Political Economy (Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic) (Volume 3)  “I said ‘if the marshals have something to say about it let’s see what orders they have, let’s see what papers they have to take him into custody again,'” Mumford said. “Next thing I know they took a hold of me and was talking about how I was resisting arrest. They were twisting my legs and put me to the ground and then they tased me.”

Mumford was released after being briefly put in handcuffs and reportedly cited for disorderly conduct and resisting lawful order.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said in a statement that she is disappointed by the verdict but respects the jury’s decision.

“The occupation of the Malheur Refuge by outsiders did not reflect the Oregon way of respectfully working together to resolve differences,” she posted on Twitter.

Harney County Sheriff David Ward, who was at the center of negotiations between the armed occupiers and law enforcement, echoed Brown’s sentiment.

“While I am disappointed in the outcome, I believe our form of government and justice system to be the best in the world,” he said in a statement. “This is our system and I stand by it.”

The trial lasted for weeks, though jury maneuver by the judge likely paved the way for the sweeping not guilty verdicts.

Juror 11, who another juror said may be partial to the government because of previous work for the federal Bureau of Land Management, was dismissed on Wednesday and replaced, the Oregonian reported.

Though there are many photos of the Bundys and other defendants at the refuge, occasionally armed, their defense teams argued that the occupation was justified as civil disobedience.

Occupiers led by Ammon Bundy took over a refuge for 41 days. Above, he speaks with LaVoy Finicum, who was shot and killed during the standoff.
Occupiers led by Ammon Bundy took over a refuge for 41 days. Above, he speaks with LaVoy Finicum, who was shot and killed during the standoff. Image by: ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images

The standoff, where protesters said federal land should be turned over to locals, drew national attention, repeatedly dominating headlines with fears that the occupation may end in bloodshed.

At one point in late January the Bundys left the refuge for a meeting with a local sheriff, but were intercepted by police and arrested.

The occupation’s spokesman Robert LaVoy Finicum, was shot and killed by police in the encounter, and video footage appears to confirm authorities’ account that he was reaching for a gun in his jacket pocket.

Most at the refuge surrendered in the days after Finicum’s death, though some stayed on and surrendered when officers close in on Feb. 11.

Beyond the seven acquitted Thursday, nineteen other occupiers were charged with conspiracy. Eleven pleaded guilty, one had the charge dropped and seven are scheduled for trial next year.

With News Wire Services


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