Judge Anna Brown Drops Her Mask
By Shari Dovale
The Malheur Protest Trial has been going well for the defense, as the witnesses all confirm the transparent and safe atmosphere the protesters encouraged. This must be angering the Judge because she took a decided twist in her handling of the trial today.
Jeff Banta testified last week about how he arrived at the Refuge on January 25th, just one day before LaVoy Finicum was murdered at an illegal Deadman’s roadblock orchestrated by the FBI and Oregon State Police (OSP). His testimony included discussion of a video he had seen online that prompted him to get involved.
The video was made by John Witzel of French Glen, Oregon. The video shows the ‘Miller Homestead Fire’ of 2012 in which the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) started multiple blazes that caused damage to property and livestock.
Here is the video:
After allowing the prosecution leeway in their video selection, including watching several people target practice, the video that was so compelling to Jeff Banta was not to be allowed. Judge Brown decided that this video would be too confusing for the jury. She allowed Witzel to come in and describe a few parts of his video, but that was all.
The defense asked to play a video of Senator Harry Reid calling the Bunkerville Patriots “Domestic Terrorists”. Judge Brown told the defense that Ammon Bundy can say what he wants, but we don’t need videos. So, this one was out as well.
Another issue at hand today had Judge Brown refusing to deal with the issue of FBI Agent Ronnie Walker sitting in the courtroom from day 1 even though he was on the prosecution witness list. She blamed that problem on the attorneys and refused to admit that the buck stops with her. She is completely responsible for this breach, and I certainly hope at least one defense attorney files for a mistrial based on this blatant favoritism.
Judge Brown is well known to be favoring the prosecution, but has completely ripped off her mask and stopped pretending to be fair in this trial. She has threatened the defense if they bring up the truth of the FBI lying and covering up their part in the murder of LaVoy Finicum. She has not allowed crucial evidence, but has allowed the prosecution it’s grandstanding.
Marcus Mumford put forth a very good argument on this subject today when Brown decided to change some jury instructions out of the blue. She said that the defense was misusing the word ‘terrorist’ when it came to discussion of the Hammonds being prosecuted under the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. “The defendants are using the term improperly,” she stated.
When Mumford challenged her need to change the jury instructions, he states that the “court is taking sides against the defense.” She completely ignored his argument and did not even bother to address it.
This fit with the rest of the day and how many objections the prosecution could jump up and make. She sustained nearly all of them. However, she was so wrapped up in helping the prosecution that at one point she even sustained an objection that was not made.
During the questioning of Chris Briels, Brown burst out and said “Objection Sustained!” When she realized that no one had made an objection, she then said, “Oh, there was no objection, but I am going to sustain it anyway. I am not going to let the witness speculate.”
This is what the defendants are dealing with. The public audience is on to her as well, as she has noticed. She has threatened the public in the gallery with expulsion for making any noise whatsoever, even turning a page in a notebook. If she hears a pen click or a page turn she will have everyone removed.
The stress of this trial could be proving to be too much for Judge Brown. I think she needs a vacation. I know I do.