Courtroom Cleared After Bundy Riles Gallery

     PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) — In an outburst that cleared the courtroom, jailed militiaman Ammon Bundy yelled to supporters that the federal judge in charge of his case wouldn’t let him speak, moments after she denied his request to delay the start of his trial.
     Bundy, looking pale and thin after five months in jail and lacking the quiet vigor he exuded during the 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Eastern Oregon, has so far never spoken out of turn during proceedings leading to his Sept. 7 trial.
     But he shot out of his seat at the end of a hearing on Wednesday where U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown had earlier denied his request to delay the trial date — a date he argued in February violated his right to a speedy trial.
     Bundy’s lawyer, Marcus Mumford, claimed on Wednesday that “severe restrictions” at the Multnomah County Jail have prevented Bundy from reviewing hundreds of videos he needs to prepare his defense.     
     Bundy hired Mumford and fellow Utah lawyer J. Morgan Philpot in June, after Eugene lawyers Michael Arnold and Lissa Casey withdrew. Since then, Mumford has repeatedly complained about what he says is his lack of access to his client.
     Mumford told Brown that he had documented more than 100 incidents where he had been scheduled to speak with Bundy but the meetings were canceled due to jail lockdowns, staffing issues and other concerns.
     But Brown denied the motion, saying Bundy should know the gist of the government’s case against him since he was at the refuge during the occupation.
     Ammon “was assertedly the leader at events that were actively memorialized by the participants,” Brown said. “So it’s not like he wasn’t aware of the factual basis on which the government plans to proceed.”
     While Ammon Bundy has a right to hire new counsel, “that doesn’t mean trial preparation starts over because new lawyers have been voluntarily engaged by Mr. Bundy,” Brown said.
     Ammon and his brother Ryan initially lead the charge for a trial to start even sooner than is currently planned. When the proceedings began in February, the government warned the court that it could take until the spring of 2017 to prepare for such a complex trial.
     But the brothers pushed for the observance of their rights under the Speedy Trial Act, and Judge Brown settled on a start date of Sept. 7.
     Ammon and Ryan “were loud and clear leaders on case management issues from the beginning,” Brown said.
     And a delay in the Oregon trial would muck up the schedule in Nevada, Brown said, where the Bundy brothers and five other Oregon defendants are also facing charges related to the 2014 showdown at patriarch Cliven Bundy’s Bunkerville, Nevada, ranch where protesters stopped the government from seizing Bundy’s cattle.
     During the Oregon occupation, Ammon Bundy led daily press conferences outlining the militants’ demands and describing his legal theory that the Constitution bars the federal government from owning land.
     Even so, co-defendant Jason Patrick objected to Judge Brown’s characterization of Ammon as a leader.
     “The continued use of the word ‘leader’ strikes me as funny,” Patrick, who is representing himself, told Brown.
     “Mr. Patrick, I meant no offense,” Brown said. “I am only using the word he has been referred to as.”
     Ammon Bundy stood and picked up the thread.
     “I want to make sure I won’t be considered the leader for the purposes of sentencing,”he said.
     “Of course not,” Brown said. “Please sit down. You have a lawyer to speak on your behalf.”
     “I have my rights to speak,” Ammon Bundy said.
     “Not right now you don’t,” Brown told him.
     Ammon, who over five months of hearings has remained quiet while his lawyers did the talking, turned toward the packed gallery.
     “I want it known that both times I have spoken, she has shut me down,” Bundy yelled. “I tried to talk, and she shut me down.”
     “Yes she has,” one of his supporters yelled back.
     “All right, that’s it,” Brown said, and ordered the courtroom cleared.
     The next hearing is scheduled for July 18. Brown said that while all defendants are welcome, none need attend.

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