Ammon and Ryan Bundy, along with five other defendants who were charged with conspiracy following a 41-day takeover at an Oregon national wildlife refuge – which ended when FBI agents shot and killed LaVoy Finicum – were acquitted today.
But the Bundys’ attorney was tackled, tasered and arrested anyway.
“The people have to insist that the government is not our master; they are our servants.” Ryan Bundy told jurors during the closing statement of his trial for conspiracy, according to PBS.
The jury returned the acquittal after just six hours of deliberation after hearing six weeks of testimony. One of the jurors was replaced at the last minute after an allegation of bias surfaced.
“A stunning victory for rural America” Neal Wampler, a Bundy co-defendant stated after the verdict.
Jurors found brothers Ammon Bundy and Ryan Bundy not guilty for possessing firearms, but were unable to reach an agreement on Ryan Bundy’s theft of government charge.
The jury found Ammon Bundy, Neil Wampler, Shawna Cox, David Lee Fry, Kenneth Medenbach and Jeff Wayne Banta not guilty on all other counts.
Even though he was found not guilty, Ammon Bundy won’t be released from custody just yet, but his attorney Marcus Mumford didn’t realize that.
U.S. Marshals taser and arrest attorney
Muford was tackled to the ground and Tasered by U.S. Marshals following the verdict after insisting his client was free to go.
Attorney for co-defendant Kenneth Medenbach cleared up the issue saying, “there’s a [U.S. Marshal] hold for Ammon Bundy and Ryan Bundy out of the district of Nevada.”
The Bundy brothers and several other defendants still face charges for the Bunkerville standoff and will be transferred to Nevada in order to face those charges.
“‘There’s nothing Judge Brown can do about that. So acquitting him here, all it does is effectively release him to that hold, to be transported to Nevada. And the court that has anything authority to deal with that, is the court in Nevada. Marcus let the emotion of the moment, I think, overtake his better judgement,” attorney Medenbach explained.
After the ordeal, Mumford was arrested, and the courtroom was ordered to be cleared.
Oregon prosecutors initially charged Amman Bundy, his brother Ryan Bundy with 24 others with conspiracy for preventing the Bureau of Land Management and employees at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife department from doing their jobs at the wildlife refuge in Harney County.
Only seven defendants took their case to trial, which began in September.
Some involved in standoff have already pleaded guilty; others are scheduled for trial in February 2017.
Jurors heard testimony from five of the seven defendants and two chose not to testify
The state relied mostly on testimony from law enforcement.
According to the Times, the defense team focused on instances of government abuse that prompted the armed occupation at the Mahleur National Wildlife Refuge, such as government ownership and management of public lands.
“At the end of the day, there is an element of common sense that demonstrates the guilt of these defendants,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan Knight argued in closing statements. “These defendants took over a wildlife refuge and it wasn’t theirs.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, this case is not a whodunit,” he added.
Prosecutors showed jurors 30 seized guns over the course of presenting their course to jurors for two weeks.
“Hundreds of law enforcement officers — federal, state, and local — worked around-the-clock to resolve the armed occupation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge peacefully,” Greg Bretzing, special agent in charge of the FBI testified during the trial. “We believe now, as we did then, that protecting and defending this nation through rigorous obedience to the U.S. Constitution is our most important responsibility.”
The defense had their own strategy.
“Thousands came to his cause and his movement not to break the rules … but to try to find a way to get the government to follow theirs,” said Mumford before tasered.