Occupiers Indicted But Not Allowed in Courtroom
Ammon Bundy and 15 others were indicted on Wednesday, February 3, 2016. The charges stem from their occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge 30 miles south of Burns, Oregon, beginning January 2, 2016.
The Federal indictment remains sealed, though defense lawyers sought to have it released immediately. US Magistrate Judge Janice Stewart denied their request.
The defendants were not allowed into the courtroom during the proceedings, and their attorneys voiced numerous complaints.
Oregon federal public defender Lisa Hay, who represents Ryan Payne, objected to keeping the indictments secret and the court’s unilateral decision not to bring the defendants to the courtroom. Hay also said she believes the federal government told the U.S. Marshals Service a day earlier not to transport the defendants from jail to court before prosecutors had an indictment in hand.
“It makes a mockery of the grand jury process to alert marshals ahead of time,” Hay argued.
Defense attorney Mike Arnold asked the court to make sure his client, Ammon Bundy, would always be in court during hearings. Another defense lawyer, Amy Baggio, who is defending Joseph O’Shaughnessy, told the court it didn’t have the right to withhold the indictment per Rule 6 of the federal rules of criminal procedure, according to The Oregonian.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Janice M. Stewart told the defense lawyers that they’d get the indictments in due time. “When an indictment is returned, a defendant no longer has a right to the preliminary hearing,” the judge said. “No need for your client to appear.”
The indictments hadn’t been released by late afternoon Wednesday, but they’re likely to add charges. Those could include trespassing on federal property, destruction of federal property, unlawful access to federal computers and possession of firearms on a federal facility, according to legal observers.
The indictments replace the earlier complaint. The defendants will be arraigned on the indictments Feb. 24. On Wednesday, the attorney for Shawna Cox, Tiffany Harris, said Cox is on her way home to Kanab, Utah. She asked the court if Cox could be allowed to spend nights at her daughter’s home in the wake of her son-in-law’s death Friday night.
Though she is being allowed to spend time at her daughter’s home, Cox has been denied the chance to attend LaVoy Finicum’s funeral, scheduled for Friday in her hometown.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoff Barrow objected to Cox being allowed to be at Finicum’s funeral. “Prior to his death, Finicum was a co-conspirator to this crime,” Barrow said. He argued that Cox attending “a gathering of like-minded people” (in other words, a funeral of grieving people) could lead to additional problems.
Judge Stewart agreed.
Accused in the conspiracy so far are Ammon Bundy, 40, of Emmett, Idaho, his brother, Ryan Bundy, 43, of Bunkerville, Nevada, Ryan W. Payne, 32, of Anaconda, Montana, Brian Cavalier, 44, of Bunkerville, Nevada, Shawna Cox, 59, of Kanab, Utah, Joseph O’Shaughnessy, 43, of Cottonwood, Arizona, Pete Santilli, 50, of Cincinnati, Jason Patrick, 43, of Bonaire, Georgia, Duane Ehmer, 45, of Irrigon, Dylan Anderson, 34, of Provo, Utah, and Jon Ritzheimer, 32, of Peoria, Arizona.