Bundy Defendant Makes|Nice With His Lawyer

LAS VEGAS (CN) — After a closed hearing Thursday, one of the 19 defendants in the federal government’s case against Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy changed his mind about removing his court-appointed attorney.
     Richard Lovelien filed a handwritten motion on May 23, saying: “I do not believe my appointed attorney, Mr. Shawn Perez, has my best interests at heart.”
     He asked the court to remove Perez as his legal counsel.
     U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen presided over the motion hearing Thursday morning, which she immediately closed, asking everyone but Perez and Lovelien to leave the courtroom.
     Fifteen minutes later, when the hearing was reopened, Lovelien withdrew his motion to remove Perez.
     Lovelien and Perez appeared to be in good spirits before the hearing, smiling and joking with one another as Perez said that one of the discovery materials produced by federal prosecutors is a 9-hour video of an outhouse.
     Perez has a private practice in Las Vegas.
     Assistant U.S. Attorney Nadia Ahmed represented the federal government during the hearing, but also had to leave the courtroom for the sealed portion.
     Lovelien is among 12 defendants arrested on March 3 and charged with federal crimes for the April 2014 standoff with Bureau of Land Management officers trying to round up about 400 head of cattle belonging to Cliven Bundy, who has grazed his cattle for years on public land without paying grazing fees.
     Lovelien, 52, of Westville, Okla., and is charged with conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States and conspiracy to impede or injure a federal officer.
     He also is charged with using and carrying a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, assault on a federal officer, threatening a federal law enforcement officer, obstruction, interference with interstate commerce by extortion, and interstate travel in aid of extortion.
     In addition to prison sentences, federal prosecutors seek at least $3 million in forfeitures of proceeds derived from the alleged crimes.

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