The remaining seven defendants in the Oregon standoff will face conspiracy charges even though the occupation leaders were acquitted of the same charge last fall.
Prosecutors will ask to delay the February trial by two months and add more misdemeanor charges including trespassing and destruction of property against the defendants, according to The Oregonian. The charges stem from the 41-day armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge because of government control over the public land.
“In my view, it defies logic that they could profess respect for the jury’s verdict in the first trial, and yet still be pursuing charges, and indeed more charges, against the lesser players in the second trial,” attorney for one of the defendants Jesse Merrithew said, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.
Prosecutors would not comment on their decision to charge the lesser actors with the same conspiracy charge of which the principals had already been acquitted, according to OPB. One juror from the earlier trial had said that prosecutors didn’t have enough evidence that the protesters had conspired to keep federal employees from doing their jobs, OPB reported.
The case is expected to last about a month total. It is expected to be difficult to find jurors who don’t already have an opinion about the standoff, since it was in the news often and the first trial and acquittal was a highly publicized story.
“The public has decided that the result the first jury reached was wrong,” Merrithew said, according to OPB. “That’s a more direct prejudice to our clients that we’re going to have to deal with in the second trial.”
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