McConnell Outed as Government Informant
By Shari Dovale
The Malheur Protest Trial continued today with Judge Anna Brown repeating her orders to Ryan Bundy not to bring up the “FBI Cover-up”. “This is very serious controversy,” she told him. She warned him that if he attempted to bring up this point that she will have him removed from the courtroom and he will forfeit his right to represent himself.
Later in the morning, Oregon State Police (OSP) Trooper Jeremiah Beckert testified about January 26, 2016, the day the FBI and OSP set up an illegal Dead-man’s Roadblock on Highway 395 north of Burns.
Beckert testified that Mark McConnell, driver of the jeep, was a cooperating government informant that tipped them off as to the vehicles, which occupants were in the vehicles, etc. Beckert told the court that McConnell was the only occupant of the jeep that was armed. The other two passengers, Ammon Bundy and Brian Cavalier, were not armed.
Beckert brought with him a 24-page statement to refresh his memory, but stated that most of the events were very clear in his mind. “This was a High Profile incident,” he stated. “A once in a lifetime event.”
When defense attorney Mumford questioned him about the legality of the events, Beckert said, “It is not my job to understand the laws. It is my job to do what my supervisor tells me.”
Beckert testified that he was assigned to apprehend the jeep during the operation to arrest the protesters. He was in an unmarked truck, and when he saw the jeep he hit his lights and sirens and went up behind them. After the arrests of the jeep passengers, Beckert drove off to assist with the vehicle driven by LaVoy Finicum.
He testified that Finicum was on the ground and not moving when he arrived, and continued to describe the events after that, leading to the arrests of the remaining passengers.
Judge Brown attempted to limit how many details were discussed in front of the jury, but some made there way into open court. It was noted that no shots came from the truck, and several non-lethal rounds were shot towards the truck. The lethal rounds were not discussed.
“So the round that was shot into my shoulder, was it lethal or not lethal?” Ryan Bundy attempted to ask on cross examination. This was another question that went unanswered.
Since the defendants perception is the main focus, it would have been nice to hear if they could have discerned the difference between lethal and non-lethal rounds being shot at them, however, the Judge was having none of that.
The prosecution has not presented a strong case, yet I am sure it will be enough for Judge Brown to send it to the jury. Let’s hope and pray that the jury is smart enough to see through them.