PORTLAND, Ore. — The Latest on the trial of seven people involved in a weekslong armed standoff at a national wildlife refuge in Oregon (all times local):
One of the most high-profile members of an armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon this year says he came to help a local ranching family, not to break the law.
Ryan Bundy, the brother of group leader Ammon Bundy, is acting as his own attorney. He told the court in opening statements Tuesday that he and others went to Burns, Oregon, to protest against the imprisonment of two Oregon ranchers convicted of setting fires.
Ryan Bundy and other defendants face a charge of conspiring to impede U.S. government workers by taking over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The group’s members have said they were protesting federal land use policy and wanted locals to control the area.
Ryan Bundy said he is “in favor of government as long as it’s done correctly.”
An attorney for one of the leaders of the armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon this year says his client did not conspire to impede U.S. government workers.
That’s the charge Ammon Bundy faces in a trial that began Tuesday in Portland for him, his brother Ryan and five other defendants.
Ammon Bundy’s lawyer, Marcus Mumford, told jurors during his opening statement, that the 41-day occupation was a legitimate attempt to take possession of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
Mumford also told the U.S. District Court jury that only one side of the standoff shot anybody — a reference to the FBI’s fatal shooting of armed protester Robert “LaVoy” Finicum during a traffic stop.
Ryan Bundy planned to deliver his own opening statement Tuesday.
A federal prosecutor says seven people who took part in an armed takeover of an Oregon wildlife refuge aren’t on trial because of their anti-government beliefs.
In a 45-minute opening statement Tuesday, prosecutor Geoffrey Barrow told jurors “everyone in this great nation has a right to his or her beliefs.” But, he says the defendants broke the law when they seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
Group leader Ammon Bundy says the refuge was seized to protest federal land use policies.
The defendants are charged with conspiring to impede Interior Department employees from doing their jobs. Five are charged with possession of a firearm in a federal facility.
Barrow says one of the people who took part in the 41-day standoff earlier this year will testify against his former allies.
A handful of people showed up outside a federal courthouse in downtown Portland, Oregon, as a lengthy trial got underway for seven people who were involved in a weekslong standoff earlier this year at a national wildlife refuge near Burns.
Opening statements were beginning Tuesday for the defendants, including brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy, part of a Nevada ranching family embroiled in a long-running dispute over land use.
Those outside court waved an upside-down American flag and were joined by a horse named Lady Liberty.
They plan to march around the courthouse during the trial’s lunch breaks.
John Lamb drove from Bozeman, Montana, to take part in the protest.
He says the federal government has no more authority to manage ranching lands than he does to run the New York City subway.
The armed protesters who occupied a remote bird sanctuary in Oregon’s high desert earlier this year did so to protest federal land policy, which has been a point of contention in Western states for decades.
On Tuesday opening statements are set to begin in the federal trial of seven protesters, including brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy, part of a Nevada ranching family embroiled in a long-running dispute over land use.
The defendants are charged with conspiring to impede Interior Department employees from doing their jobs at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge through intimidation or threats. Five of them are also charged with possession of a firearm in a federal facility.
The takeover started Jan. 2 as a protest against the imprisonment of two Oregon ranchers convicted of setting fires and quickly grew into demands for the U.S. government to turn public lands over to local control.