LAS VEGAS (CN) — Ryan Bundy is still in jail awaiting trial on 16 felony charges, despite arguments he made in a six-hour detention hearing Tuesday.
About three dozen Bundy family members packed the small federal courtroom after kneeling in prayer in a hall of the federal courthouse before the hearing began.
Bundy faces 16 felony charges for his role in an April 12, 2014 standoff with the Bureau of Land Management near his family’s ranch about 65 miles northeast of Las Vegas. He is among 17 remaining defendants, several of whom will go to trial on Monday, Feb. 6.
The Bundys and their armed supporters held off BLM officials who tried to confiscate about 400 cattle that family patriarch Cliven Bundy had grazed for years on federal without paying grazing fees — roughly $3 million in fees.
Cliven Bundy argues, as do many so-called citizen militia groups, that the federal government has no right to own or control federal land.
Ryan Bundy, representing himself, opened the Tuesday detention hearing with a prayer and 90-minute statement echoing his father’s belief.
He had his wife and other family members testify that he is not a danger to the local community and a good family man. Bundy said he has spent 370 days in detention awaiting trial, in violation of his right to a speedy trial.
On cross-examination, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Myhre displayed photos of armed protesters and said they and Ryan Bundy did threaten the BLM and others who were trying to enforce a federal court order to confiscate the cattle.
Ryan Bundy countered that he and his father’s supporters were peaceful protestors, and the BLM officers were the aggressors.
U.S. Magistrate Judge George Foley Jr. allowed the detention hearing, though Ryan Bundy had been denied bail during a detention hearing in April 2016. Foley found then that Bundy was a danger to the community and could not be trusted to appear in court.
Foley said Tuesday he would not rule immediately, after the six-hour hearing.