Malheur 7 – The Corruption Continues!
By Shari Dovale
After 2 days off this week for holidays, Judge Brown resumed the case of the Malheur Protest Trial and made every effort to speed up the defense case to conclusion.
Firearms expert, Charles Stephenson, took the witness stand early to explain to the court the proper way to hold and secure weapons. Marcus Mumford, Ammon Bundy’s attorney, showed him a series of photos and videos entered into evidence by the prosecution. Stephenson explained through each item that the people depicted in them were using proper firearms training techniques and weapons handling. There should be nothing threatening by any of them.
Sheriff Richard Mack, President of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) took the stand next. He testified that he knew Cliven Bundy from his days fighting the Brady Bill, and meeting Ammon in April 2014, when a standoff took place between citizens and the BLM in Bunkerville, NV. Calling Deputy Tom Roberts a hero for being instrumental in a peaceful resolution to that event was enough to get the prosecutors scrambling in objections, which of course Judge Brown sustained.
Mack also discussed how he made several attempts to talk to Sheriff David Ward about protecting Dwight and Steven Hammond from going back to prison. Though Ward admitted that he did not think the Hammonds should go back to prison, he was not interested in standing up for these citizens and chose instead to quit accepting Mack’s phone calls.
Sheriff Mack got emotional when he talked about the occupation of the Refuge. Mack told Ammon to get out of the Refuge, as he believed it to be a misguided protest where someone was sure to get hurt. Ammon responded to him saying that he had “never felt so strongly about something in my life.” Ammon felt that he had been inspired by God.
Shawna Cox took the stand and was one of the few witnesses to swear “So Help Me God.” She and her side counsel, Tiffany Harris, presented the video that Shawna took on January 26, 2016. From inside LaVoy Finicum’s truck, the jurors saw the tense final moments of LaVoy’s life and the fear that the rest of the passengers felt that day.
Shawna took several moments after the video played to collect herself, as many of us did in the audience. The prosecution made every attempt to twist the facts, implying that Shawna knew that Ryan Bundy had a small handgun. Judge Brown allowed the prosecution multiple attempts to trick Shawna into changing her testimony that she didn’t know the gun was there.
Even after the defense objected to the same question being asked over and over again, all Judge Brown would do was say, “He is entitled on cross to test the witnesses response.” However, when Ryan Bundy asked, “The right to self defense can be considered the first law of nature, right?” Judge Brown admonished him for being argumentative.
It did not end there. Ryan asked, “Do you have the right to keep and bear arms?” Judge Brown, again, got upset and said the statement called for a legal opinion. “You know better than to keep asking these questions!” she reminded him.
Judge Brown was obviously shaken up when Kenneth Medenbach questioned Shawna. “Mrs. Cox, are you aware that the jury has the inherent power to judge both the law and the facts in this case?” Medenbach asked her before the judge shut him down. Judge Brown actually used the phrase “jury nullification” in front of the jury and said “You MUST accept the ruling of the court!”
Judge Brown thought she was having a good day chopping the defense case to sheds until these questions got passed her. However, she is still on the warpath for the defense. She has cut their witness list from about 24 people to just a handful, claiming that they don’t need the repetitive witnesses.
Brown has been micro-managing the defense case, by telling them who they can call and who they cannot call as witnesses. Additionally, she tells them what questions they can ask each witness. They have a potentially explosive witness coming up tomorrow, however, Judge Brown has already started shutting down that testimony. She does not want anything to interfere with the conviction she is working for.
As Kenneth Medenbach stated loudly in court today, “The Corruption Continues!”