Tags: oregon | standoff | trial | wildlife refuge

Oregon Standoff Trial Starts

Image: Oregon Standoff Trial Starts

Protestors gather outside the federal courthouse Tuesday in Portland, Oregon, where brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy and five others are on trial nine months after the armed occupation of a wildlife refuge in Oregon.(AP Photo/Don Ryan)

By    |   Wednesday, 14 Sep 2016 09:13 AM

The Oregon standoff trial related to the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in January started with opening statements in U.S. federal court in Portland on Tuesday, painting contrasting pictures of the 41-day standoff.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Barrow called the occupation by a group led by Ammon Bundy "an invasion," using a video of Bundy speaking at a Safeway parking lot in Burns, Oregon, right before the incident to make his point, The Oregonian reported.

"Those who understand what has happened here ... I'm asking you to follow me to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge," Bundy said in the video, according to The Oregonian. "We're going to make a hard stand. ... We're going to insist the Constitution be protected here in this country."

Bundy's attorney Marcus Mumford said his clients and codefendants only wanted the federal government to follow the law, the newspaper noted.

Mumford said in court that the standoff happened "all because the federal government refuses to respect the limits of its powers. … He demands the federal government obey the law. The nerve."

Bundy and his codefendants were protesting the sentencing of a pair of Burns, Oregon, ranchers for burning federal lands when they seized control of the refuge in Harney County, Oregon, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

After the property was taken over, authorities left the group alone for weeks until the last few holdouts abandoned the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, The Associated Press reported.

Authorities arrested Bundy and his brother Ryan, who is also on trial, in a Jan. 26 traffic stop that resulted in the fatal shooting of occupation spokesman Robert "Lavoy" Finicum by law enforcement, the AP noted.

Prosecutors charged 26 people with conspiracy initially and 11 eventually entered guilty pleas. Charges were dropped against one, and seven asked for a delay in their trial, now scheduled for February.

Ammon and Ryan Bundy are the sons of Clive Bundy, the Nevada rancher who was involved in an armed standoff with federal authorities over disputed ranch land there in 2014, CNN reported. Clive Bundy was arrested in February in Portland where he was attempting to support his sons in the Oregon standoff.

Clive Bundy was indicted at that time with four others, including his sons, by a federal grand jury on 16 felony charges relating to the 2014 standoff.

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The Oregon standoff trial related to the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in January started with opening statements in U.S. federal court in Portland on Tuesday, painting contrasting pictures of the 41-day standoff.
oregon, standoff, trial, wildlife refuge
391
2016-13-14
Wednesday, 14 Sep 2016 09:13 AM
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