Prosecution Shenanigans in Malheur Protest Trial
By Shari Dovale
Court was back in session today for the Malheur Protest Trial in Portland. The government continued attempting to discredit the defendants, but was struggling throughout the day.
The prosecution put up a couple of refuge employees to tell how bad it was during and after the protest. The first was Linda Beck, a micro-biologist, that talked about how her normally messy office was very messy when she returned. Mr. Mumford, Ammon Bundy’s attorney, did get her to admit that the FBI could have made the mess in her office.
She discussed her plan to ‘control’ the carp population in the lake, but the defense forced her to admit how she would prefer to eradicate all the carp. The defense also made the point that the carp were not scheduled to be ‘controlled’ until April. This was not well received by the prosecution. It was about this time that Judge Anna Brown shut down the discussion of the carp issue.
The defense attempted to ask Beck if she had ever taken direction from anyone at the Bureau of Land Management, but the judge did not allow those questions. However, she did not lose any work during the 41 days, so it was not a big loss to her.
The next refuge employee to testify was Carla Burnside, an archaeologist and I.T. Support. The most important part of her testimony included discussing her ‘unwritten’ agreement with the Paiute Tribe to keep all of the artifacts locked inside a rat-infested basement for decades. She said the Paiute tribe wanted them stored this way, so that is what the refuge did.
She did admit to having a complete box of documents on the Hammond case, which was the catalyst for the Malheur Protest. Directed by Chad Karges, refuge manager, Burnside collected everything she could about their case and developed a chronology of events for him.
Burnside also admitted to not losing work or pay due to Ammon and friends being at the refuge during the first part of this year.
The prosecution then moved on to a witness they hoped would seal Ryan Bundy’s fate on the theft of cameras. Nicholas Bleuler is a 23 year old with 3 violent felonies to date. He was on probation last January when he decided to go to the refuge and show his support. He testified that he cleared each visit with his probation officer, and it was okay with him.
During his last visit to the refuge, he was with Ryan and others when the cameras were removed from the utility poles outside the refuge. Bleuler incriminated himself in a felony theft, yet Judge Brown allowed him to do this without every questioning him about his 5th amendment. She never protected him inside her courtroom.
The defense asked Bleuler if he had cut a deal with the prosecution for his testimony, and the witness said no. When asked if he could still get charged with this crime he claimed it was “still up in the air.” So, whether the prosecution made a deal with this young man and did not report it to the court as they would be required to do, or they totally ignored the Constitution in Federal Court.
The way Judge Brown has run this trial, I would have to guess that she does not lose any sleep over her abuse of the same document she swore an Oath to uphold.
But, this week, the dog and pony show continues.