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Judge Won’t Let Bundy|Son Dave Out of Jail

LAS VEGAS (CN) — Because Dave H. Bundy considers the federal government a powerless "foreign entity," U.S. Magistrate Judge Cam Ferenbach on Monday said he'll stay in jail pending trial, to prevent possible violence.

Bundy is one of Cliven Bundy's four sons and among 19 defendants who face up to 16 federal charges apiece from the April 2014 armed standoff with the Bureau of Land Management, which tried but failed to round up illegally grazing Bundy cattle.

In a motion seeking release pending trial early next year, Dave Bundy said he would remain in custody of his local sheriff and appear at scheduled hearings.

Ferenbach was not persuaded, saying federal prosecutors made a strong case that Bundy likely would not abide by court orders and that armed resistance might occur if federal officers had to go get him.

"It's one thing to take a position. It's another thing to take up arms," Ferenbach said.

Ferenbach said the case against Dave Bundy is not as strong as the case against others, and letters of support indicate he is a kind, personable, helpful person.

However, Ferenbach also said evidence indicates Bundy helped to create the potentially deadly situation two years ago.

"I just can't get away from the underlying fact that he directed supporters to take up the high ground," Ferenbach said. "He's a danger to the community. Specifically, to BLM employees."

Ferenbach said he has no reason to believe Bundy would abide by court orders.

Bundy lives in Delta, Utah, with his wife, MaryLynn, and their six children, owns Longview Construction & Development, is a licensed pilot and almost has completed his bachelor's degree in aviation administration.

He has no criminal history and says he is well-regarded in his community and church, and that Millard County, Utah, Sheriff Robert A. Dekker offered to take custody of him while awaiting his Feb. 6, 2017 trial date.

Bundy's attorney Cal Potter III told Ferenbach several misrepresentations were made about Bundy's role in the 2014 standoff, and described him as a peacemaker and voice of reason who did not agree with his family's actions.

Among those misrepresentations, Potter said, were that federal prosecutors claimed Bundy showed up to block traffic in the days leading up to the standoff. Potter says Bundy only stood on the side of the road to film BLM activities, and never carried a firearm.

Potter said Bundy does not have a financial interest in his father's ranch, did not recruit militia for the standoff, and often was critical of his family's actions, particularly in Oregon. In fact, Potter said, Bundy acted more like a peacemaker and worked to keep things from getting out of hand.

In his motion for release, Bundy says he worked with the BLM in 2013 by allowing its pilots to land on his property in Utah and fill their helicopters with water while fighting a wildfire.

Bundy also provided letters of support from local civic leaders and others, saying he is not a danger to his community and not a flight risk.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nadia Ahmed portrayed Bundy in a different light.

Although he was not armed, Ahmed said, he was accompanied by many others who were armed with rifles and pistols, and he exercised a great deal of influence over them.

Ahmed said that influence included telling armed supporters to keep control of the high ground in the roundup area, and having them back down for 30 minutes during a critical period of the standoff when federal and local officers were outgunned and felt they were about to die in a firefight.

In denying release, Ferenbach cited a letter Bundy wrote to the sheriff of the Oregon county which contains the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. In the letter, Bundy chastised the sheriff for allowing a "foreign entity" to abuse the rights of citizens he swore to protect.

The "foreign entity" is the federal government, and Ferenbach said the letter illustrates Bundy's opinion of the federal government and, by extension, the federal court.

Although he denied Bundy's release, Ferenbach granted Bundy's motion to reopen his detention hearing.

After Ferenbach's ruling, several Bundy's family members in the audience protested loudly, saying: "They have to sleep at night; I hope they can," accused Ferenbach of being "licensed to lie" and of reading from a prepared ruling made before the hearing was held.

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