A Few Charges Dropped From Bundy Ranch Standoff Retrial

LAS VEGAS (CN) — Two men convicted of crimes in the trial of six of the 19 defendants in the armed standoff with federal agents near Cliven Bundy’s Nevada ranch will not be retried on the counts that hung their jury.

U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro granted motions to dismiss without prejudice remaining charges against Gregory Burleson on Tuesday and Todd Engel during a calendar call hearing Thursday.

Acting U.S. Attorney Steven Myhre said he filed the motions “simply as a matter of judicial economy.”

A jury on April 24 found Burleson guilty of eight of 10 counts and Engel two of 10 counts for helping Bundy stop the Bureau of Land Management from confiscating some 400 head of cattle Bundy had been grazing on federal land for years without paying grazing fees.

The April 12, 2014 armed standoff came at a freeway overpass some 65 miles northeast of Las Vegas, near Bunkerville.

The BLM was trying to enforce a federal court order to round the cattle. Bundy claims the federal government has no right to federal land.

The jury found Idaho resident Engel guilty of count 12, obstruction of justice, and count 16, interstate travel in aid of extortion. It deadlocked on eight counts.

The jury convicted Burleson of one count of assault on a federal officer, three counts of using and carrying a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, and one count of threatening a federal law enforcement officer. Burleson, of Phoenix, also was convicted of obstruction and two counts of extortion. The jury deadlocked on two conspiracy counts against him.

The retrial of co-defendants O. Scott Drexler, Eric Parker, Richard Lovelien and Steven Stewart is to start June 26 with jury selection.

Each faces up to 50 years in prison if convicted of all 10 felony counts against them.

Cliven Bundy, his sons Ammon and Ryan Bundy, self-described journalist Peter Santilli and Ryan Payne are to go to trial about 30 days after the retrial of the first defendants.

Each of them faces 15 felony counts of conspiring to intimidate the BLM and federal law enforcement into releasing cows they had gathered into holding pens in the Nevada desert.

If convicted, each faces up to 80 years in prison. Cliven Bundy also faces a $3 million fine for unpaid grazing fees.

A third trial, of Dave Bundy, Mel Bundy, Joseph O’Shaughnessy, Brian Cavalier, Jason Woods and Micah McGuire is to start about 30 days after the conclusion of the trial of the second group of defendants.

Two defendants, Gerald DeLemus of New Hampshire and Blaine Cooper of Humboldt, Arizona, pleaded guilty to reduced charges in August 2016. They await sentencing.

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