Criminal Justice

Federal judge in Nevada throws out charges against Cliven Bundy and sons, slams government

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After finding that FBI evidence was not disclosed to the defense before trial along with “flagrant misconduct” by prosecutors, a federal judge threw out charges in Nevada against cattleman Cliven Bundy, sons Ryan and Ammon, and Bundy supporter Ryan W. Payne.

Monday’s dismissal with prejudice by U.S. District Judge Gloria M. Navarro deals with the 2014 armed standoff at the family’s Nevada ranch, the Los Angeles Times reports. The incident stems from the Bureau of Land Management seizing cattle from Cliven Bundy, after it was found that he owed federal land-grazing fees for decades, according to the New York Times.

Evidence in the case included video secretly taken on Bundy’s property, the Times reports. Navarro’s ruling comes after she declared a mistrial in December.

“The government’s conduct in this case was indeed outrageous. There has been flagrant misconduct, substantial prejudice and no lesser remedy is sufficient,” she said in a bench ruling, according to the Oregonian.

The Los Angeles Times reports that federal prosecutors made a Dec. 29 filing, arguing that they did not purposely withhold evidence. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Myhre wrote that the government shared 1.5 terabytes of information with the defense, which he described as “the largest review and disclosure operation in this [U.S. attorney’s office] history,” the newspaper reports.

Brenda Weksler, an assistant public defender who represents Payne, argued that the government failed to follow deadlines to share discovery, disregarded specific evidence requests and made “brazen proffers” to the court that certain information didn’t exist, the Oregonian reports.

Ammon and Ryan Bundy were also charged with conspiracy in Oregon for their nearly six-week takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in January 2016. A federal jury acquitted the brothers and five of their followers in October 2016, according to the New York Times.

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