Sheriff David Ward Testifies at Malheur Protest Trial
By Shari Dovale
Harney County Sheriff David Ward took the stand for the prosecution today in the the Malheur Protest Trial. He was there to help the government case, but didn’t make it to 100%. Between videos and testimony, it was revealed that Ward never felt threatened by Ammon Bundy.
He admitted that Ammon had never directly threatened him, and what he called ‘indirect threats’ were not aimed at him personally. He also said that if he had ever been afraid he could have called for back up officers, to protect him from the Patriots. He never had to do this.
The prosecution mistakenly referred to him as an ‘elected’ sheriff in the beginning. Ward was appointed in January 2015 and is only now running his first election campaign. Ward described his county as having 7200 people with 100 cows per person.
He talked about meeting Ammon Bundy and Ryan Payne on November 5, 2015 and speaking with them for several hours. Saying Ammon used the term ‘civil unrest’ as well as describing the Bunkerville events of 2014 as a ‘great victory’, Ward still had trouble remembering select details, claiming his mind was “like jello.”
“Ammon is a polite guy to have a conversation with,” Ward said. He went on to discuss hearsay from Ryan Payne. Payne’s statements to Ward are being allowed, even though they are hearsay, under the presumption that the ‘co-conspirator’ charge will be proved.
Sheriff Ward also testified that he initiated the contact with the FBI through a phone call after he met Ammon on November 5th. So, in a nutshell, Sheriff Ward voluntarily abdicated the authority in his county.
The government had previously made an issue, or at least a strong statement, about the defendants using the term ‘Intel’ as if it was a military operation. Someone should have warned Sheriff Ward, as he used this term repeatedly, thereby minimizing the affects of the defendants using it.
Ward continued to describe his fear when the adverse possession began at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, describing turning the jail into a bunker for the employees and moving the prisoners to the neighboring county. Ward admitted that he instructed his staff to “Stay away from the Protest” on January 2, 2016. However, he also met with Ammon later that week and felt very comfortable with him. The video showed Ward telling Ammon that he (Ward) knew that Ammon meant no harm in what was happening.
Additionally, Ward admitted that he has not met most of the defendants. Most of his dealings were with Ammon and Ryan Payne.
The defense attempted a few objections, but they didn’t fly with the judge. However, nearly every objection the prosecution made was sustained. The defense finally had to quit trying, but they did reserve the right to recall the Sheriff to the stand.
And I am sure he will be back.