Malheur Protest Trial – Week 3 Wrap Up
By Shari Dovale
The trial in Portland has proven to be enlightening, as the very least. Judge Anna Brown does not hide her bias against the defense. The government has not put on a very strong case, but Judge Brown is helping them all she can.
Ammon continues to wear his jail scrubs in a powerful political statement. Others have joined him, including protesters outside the courthouse. There is another defendant that wears scrubs daily and that is Neil Wampler. We are hoping that others will join them in this statement.
Details of LaVoy Finicum’s murder have seeped into the trial, with Judge Brown actively trying to keep it from the jury. She has threatened the defense attorneys with $1,000 fines if they continue to bring up the details or try to discuss the FBI cover-up in that case.
Brown has said that the fact of Finicum being shot by Law Enforcement is enough information. She also said that these actions, for the most part, happened after the events at the refuge, so they are not pertinent to the charge of conspiracy. She actually called it “irrelevant.”
However, co-defendant Jeff Banta only arrived at the refuge the night before LaVoy was murdered, so I would think this is very relevant in his case. The same with all of the ‘final four.’ Let’s hope their attorneys can make that point with the judge.
Mark McConnell was revealed to be a cooperating government witness. He provided detailed information on January 26th, including which vehicles were being driven that day, who was in each vehicle, and the threat assessment the FBI could face. This information allowed the FBI and Oregon State Police (OSP) to set up the stop at the illegal deadman’s roadblock and ultimately murder LaVoy Finicum.
The government continued with their witnesses, including a rancher named Dunbar, who lives adjacent to the Malheur Refuge. He admitted that he, and his son, each received $2,000 from the government for “services rendered’ during the month of January 2016. He did try to claim that he did not want the money, but was forced to admit on cross examination that he did not return it. It was a ‘significant amount of money’ for him, after all.
The government then proceeded to discuss the FBI negotiations with the final four after the arrests on January 26th. It was very hard to see the absolute lack of conscience these FBI special agents have towards the American public.
They know that they are allowed to lie to the people in this country, even though it is a crime for someone to lie right back to them. When the crisis negotiators talked to the protesters, they said whatever they had to say to achieve their ends. Truth was never the most important item on the agenda.
Next week will bring an end to the government’s case. They are projecting 2 days of evidence presentation, with individual FBI agents presenting each separate piece of evidence. The defense is expected to begin on Wednesday, September 28th. We will be there for you.