Judge rules mistrial in Bundy case
Judge Gloria Navarro sent the jury home and declared a mistrial in the Bundy “standoff” case involving Cliven, Ammon, Ryan Bundy, Ryan Payne and several others. The judge said she believes the prosecution willfully withheld evidence about BLM snipers and marksmen, surveillance cameras, logs and maps, threat assessments regarding the Bundys, and more said reporter Brian Hyde. In each of these cases, the government, in the judge’s opinion, willfully withheld information that weakened the defense’s case. The judge also commented that there was too much potential prejudice for the trial to be fair. The prosecution may still decide to re-try the case.
Attorney Roger Roots who serves on Cliven’s defense team said that Cliven remains incarcerated. Although he was offered pre-trial release at the end of November, he declined, and she rescinded the offer. Roots said the Cliven does not want to be released with any conditions such as an ankle bracelet, etc., and the judge is not willing to release him without conditions.
While a second trial is set to begin Feb. 26, there is also a possibility that there will not be another trial.
In the case of a mistrial, the prosecution can decide whether or not to initiate another trial.
Roots expects the judge to dismiss the case. He said that the attorneys on both sides were given until Dec. 28th to provide briefs to the judge to argue for dismissal “with prejudice” or “without prejudice.”
“The defense will be arguing that the whole thing needs to be dismissed with prejudice and it should be over after all of these violations,” said Roots.
If the judge dismisses “with prejudice,” the case is closed, and can’t be re-tried, but if she dismisses “without prejudice,” the indictment is dismissed, but the prosecution could initiate a new trial with the same charges.
The briefs will be discussed in the courtroom on Jan. 8, along with a hearing on a motion by the Las Vegas Review Journal to open up all of the sealed documents and transcripts of all of the sealed hearings, said Roots.
The attorneys and defendants have been under a gag order for the secret hearings secret orders, which is highly unusual, said Roots. It appears that from now forward the judge will not allow as much secretive activity. “The judge more or less ruled that from now on everything should be in a public document. I think the judge has been under a little pressure because she’d been doing so much behind the scenes that the public hasn’t been able to see what’s going on in the last month.”
Roots said the case was declared a mistrial based on a number of “Brady violations” or instances of the prosecutors – federal attorneys – withholding evidence that could have been used to prove the defendants innocent.
He said Ryan Bundy alleges that there is information being withheld that would prove that the BLM tried to eliminate Cliven’s water rights in 2008. “The Brady violations that the judge found are just the tip of the iceberg and there are more coming down the pike that are even more embarrassing for the government,” said Roots.