LAS VEGAS (CN) — A federal judge Friday refused Ryan Bundy’s request to be released from jail for Christmas, as he awaits trial for his role in an armed 2014 standoff with federal authorities near his father’s ranch.
Bundy, representing himself, is among 17 defendants who face up to 16 felony charges apiece for stopping the Bureau of Land Management, at gunpoint, from confiscating some 400 head of cattle from federal land near his family’s ranch near Bunkerville, Nev.
He is jailed pending trial. In April, U.S. Magistrate Judge George Foley Jr. refused to release him, calling him a leader and organizer of “armed resistance” to enforcement of federal court orders.
Foley found Bundy a danger to the community, as he does not recognize the federal government’s authority and so cannot be trusted to appear at federal hearings.
On Friday, Bundy told Foley “a pack of lies were told, and no evidence came forth” during the April detention hearing. He said he did not commit a crime, is no danger to the community, and asked the government to prove he would not show up for court hearings.
He asked Foley to take note of his wife and children, who were at the hearing.
“I have a beautiful wife and eight children,” Bundy said, and Christmas was coming.
“There never has been a fair hearing for myself” and he had “no chance to confront prosecution witnesses,” Bundy told the judge.
He asked Foley to “provide for that hearing to dispel the lies that have been told, or release me today.”
"The lies that have been told are terrible. I am not afraid of the truth," Bundy said.
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Myhre told Foley a grand jury found probable cause of crimes of violence, extortion and conspiracy involving firearms.
Myhre said there is nothing “new or material” in Bundy’s motion to reopen his detention hearing, and that he “should have thought of family on April 12, 2014.”
Foley said he would rule promptly on the motion, but did not release him for Christmas.
Bundy is among 17 defendants to be tried in three groups, starting Feb. 6. The least culpable will go first, followed by a 30-day break upon its conclusion. Bundy is scheduled to go to trial among the second group of defendants.
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