Harney County, Oregon, Residents Dismayed By Nevada Bundy Trial Dismissal
A federal judge in Nevada dismissed the grazing fees standoff case against Cliven Bundy and his sons Ammon and Ryan today.
The Bundy sons were at the center of the separate Oregon Malheur Wildlife Refuge occupation in 2016 that ended in their acquittal.
In the Nevada standoff case, the judge cited misconduct of prosecutors and FBI for withholding evidence in the trial.
For some residents of Harney County, Oregon, site of the Malheur occupation, the mistrial is another blow. Many in Burns saw the Nevada trial as a second chance to convict the leaders of the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, after they were found not guilty in the Oregon trial.
Steve Grasty was the Harney County Judge during the 2016 occupation. He’s concerned that the Bundys and their followers may feel empowered by the mistrial.
“That’s what worries me,” Grasty said. “If they think they got off not guilty, then what’s that enable them to do?”
The Nevada case was dismissed with prejudice, which means there’s no chance of a new trial.
Meanwhile some supporters of the Bundy’s are also frustrated.
Andrew Kohlmetz is stand-by attorney for Jason Patrick, who was convicted by a jury last spring of conspiracy.
“On one level, of course there’s a miscarriage of justice, assuming first that they’re all guilty, which I don’t concede. But, in a perfect world, everyone who did the crime should do their time, right?” said Kohlmetz. “But we know that that doesn’t happen.”
Kohlmetz says he’s trying to determine whether there’s any connection between the judge’s ruling in Las Vegas and the Oregon standoff case that could affect Patrick’s sentencing.
Copyright 2017 Oregon Public Broadcasting. Additional reporting by Conrad Wilson
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