Two Cliven Bundy Supporters Plead Guilty to Felonies

     LAS VEGAS (CN) — Two Cliven Bundy supporters face up to six years in federal prison after pleading guilty Thursday to conspiracy and a second felony for the armed standoff with government agents in 2014.
     Blaine Cooper, 36, of Humboldt, Ariz., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States and assault on a federal officer.
     Gerald A. DeLemus, 61, of Rochester, N.H., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States and interstate travel in aid of extortion.
     The other charges against them will be dismissed by the plea deal.
     Each faces up to 72 months in prison, plus three years of supervised release, with no possibility of early release, and a $500,000 fine.
     U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro presided over the plea hearings.
     DeLemus, who appeared first, sought a brief continuance to discuss an issue with his attorney, Brian J. Smith.
     DeLemus told Navarro he is a “Christian carpenter” and wanted to know if he’d be committing perjury by pleading guilty to something containing a factual error, which he did not describe.
     “It’s not black and white,” Navarro said, citing as an example saying it was raining outside, because it was she came to work, though the rainfall might have stopped.
     “I can’t give you legal advice,” Navarro said, and continued his hearing until Cooper’s was done.
     U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said in a statement: “DeLemus’ plea agreement states that he learned of Cliven Bundy and placed a telephone call from New Hampshire to Cliven Bundy in Nevada on or about April 8, 2014. During that call, DeLemus understood Bundy to tell him that federal officers had guns and that Bundy needed ‘bodies.'”
     Bogden said DeLemus agreed to help Bundy, “gathered multiple firearms and gunmen,” and arrived with them at Bunkerville, Nev., five days later.
     DeLemus provided personal security for Bundy and other conspirators, organized and led other gunmen in patrols and at security checkpoints, called for others to travel to Bunkerville, and displayed guns and made public statements to “display force and aggression in order to influence, impede or interfere with the duties of federal law enforcement officers,” Bogden said.
     Bogden said Cooper’s plea agreement “states that he knew that Cliven Bundy and his sons and others planned to thwart, impede and interfere with the impoundment operations, and that he knowingly agreed to participate in the plan by recruiting others to join the conspiracy and encouraging and inciting others to confront and interfere with federal law enforcement officers and by providing protection for Cliven Bundy.”
     Cooper knew his co-conspirators “use and carried firearms and planned to use and carry them to display force and aggression against law enforcement officers” and knew at least one brandished a firearm and used it to assault federal law enforcement officers to “intimidate and instill fear” in them, Bogden said.
     During his hearing, Cooper told Navarro he never went to the Bundy Ranch, but that he did help to recruit others to support Bundy and his sons. He is represented by Dennis Lay.
     Cooper and DeLemus are to be sentenced on Dec. 1.
     The remaining 17 defendants, including Cliven Bundy and his sons Ryan and Ammon Bundy, are scheduled for trial beginning in February.

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