Judge Refuses to Move Up Cliven Bundy’s Trial Date

LAS VEGAS (CN) — Cliven Bundy and 10 codefendants will stay in jail awaiting trial for the 2014 armed standoff with federal authorities, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Gloria M. Navarro denied several motions by Cliven Bundy et al., who sought a trial by June 26, when six other defendants are to be retried after a jury found only two of them guilty on a total of 10 charges.

Bundy is among 19 defendants charged with up to 15 counts apiece of conspiring to use firearms to stop the Bureau of Land Management and federal law enforcement from enforcing a federal court order to confiscate cattle grazing on land managed by the BLM.

The defendants face up to 80 years in prison. Bundy also faces up to $3 million in fines for not paying federal grazing fees for 20 years.

The April 12, 2014 armed standoff near Bunkerville, Nevada, came when the BLM tried to round up nearly 400 head of cattle grazing on federal land. Bunkerville is about 65 miles northeast of Las Vegas, near the Bundy Ranch.

Bundy and 19 codefendants were arrested and jailed a year later, and have been denied release pending trial.

Two defendants, Gerald DeLemus of Rochester, New Hampshire, and Blaine Cooper of Humboldt, Arizona, pleaded guilty in August 2016 and await sentencing. DeLemus has filed a motion to recant his guilty plea, which Navarro denied.

The court granted prosecutors’ motion to hold three trials, based on the defendants’ levels of participation.

The first trial, of six, began in February, on 10 counts apiece, including conspiracy and obstruction. The jury returned guilty verdicts on eight charges against Gregory Burleson and two against Todd Engel.

The jury hung on charges against Richard Lovelien, Eric Parker, O. Scott Drexler and Steven Stewart, and Navarro declared a mistrial. That trial lasted 27 days, followed by 5½ days of jury deliberation.

A retrial of the six is to start June 26. Prosecutors have filed a motion to dismiss without prejudice the remaining charges against Burleson and Engel.

In a motion filed April 19, Bundy and four others sought to be tried on June 26.

“The United States first caused the defendants’ rights to a speedy trial to become diminished when … proposing an alternative severance scheme, which was allegedly necessary due to physical limitations as to the number of defendants,” Bundy argued.

Bundy said he “repeatedly protested that this court had failed to secure his due process rights and rights to a speedy trial by repeatedly making findings, which necessitate the postponement of his trial date based upon what he argued was an insufficient record to support such findings.”

He also filed a motion to dismiss, for denial of a speedy trial.

Bundy and four others are to be tried 30 days after the conclusion of the second trial of the first group of defendants. Thirty days after Bundy’s trial is concluded, the final group of five defendants will go to trial.

Bundy wants the court to consolidate his trial. Peter Santilli, Ammon Bundy and Ryan Payne filed similar motions, which Navarro denied Wednesday.

“Under the Speedy Trial Act, ‘If the defendant is to be tried again following a declaration by the trial judge of a mistrial or following an order of such judge for a new trial, the trial shall commence within 70 days from the date of the action occasioning the retrial,’” Navarro ruled.

Navarro granted his May 2 motion seeking clarification of the trial calendar, and set a hearing for May 25.

Bundy will be tried with his sons, Ammon and Ryan Bundy, Santilli and Payne.

The last group to be tried will be Dave Bundy, Melvin Bundy, Joseph O’Shaughnessy, Brian Cavalier, Jason Woods and Micah McGuire.

Woods also filed a motion to dismiss, saying he will be jailed for at least two years before going to trial, but Navarro denied it.

Cliven Bundy is represented by Bret Whipple with the Justice Law Center in Las Vegas.

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