Malheur II – What Judge Brown DID NOT Allow This Week
by Shari Dovale
The prosecution of the second group in the Malheur Protest Trial has had clear assistance with Judge Anna Brown.
She has trimmed the defense witnesses to less than half of their original list.
She has repeated that she will not allow testimony on how nice the people were at the refuge, how clean they kept the refuge, how peaceful it was or even how much safer the refuge was compared to the town of Burns.
She does not like character witnesses for the defendants, so she has either narrowed the scope of their testimony to the point that they need not bother taking the stand, or she flat out said no, they could not testify.
Thursday, she got rather annoyed with the defense that they did not have a ready list of people waiting in the halls for her to rake over the coals. When she asked where the witnesses were, attorney Jesse Merrithew tried very hard to keep calm and polite while explaining that because of her cuts, the full line up of that day’s witnesses were depleted.
Judge Brown has also helped the prosecution in other ways. She has ruled that an excerpt of the interview with former OPB reporter, John Sepulvado, will be played for the jury. Sepulvado is well known for his bias against the protesters, even going so far as to publicly call them nasty names.
Judge Brown has already ruled that Sepulvado will not be required to authenticate his interview, nor explain what parts got cut from the raw footage.
Brown suggested that either side could call Ryan Bundy to the stand to talk about the interview. She must be giggling vindictively over that, as Bundy could not possibly take the stand since he is still under indictment for theft of the government cameras, and is currently preparing to defend himself in the Nevada Bunkerville trial.
Then again, Brown has never seemed overly concerned with the rights of the defendants.
Brand Thornton was ready to testify for the defense, until Judge Brown had a Federal Public Defender come have a chat with him. The prosecution has decided that since Thornton told the court in October that he did not talk to “media” about the case, they will expand the definition to include “social media” and threaten him with prosecution for perjury.
Ah, yes, is this witness intimidation?
The defense now would like to read from Thornton’s October transcript, but of course, the prosecution is now allowed to consider it “tainted testimony”. We will see how Judge Brown handles this one.
Part of Thornton’s testimony would cover the blowing of his “Shofar”. The prosecution would like the jury to believe that he used this as a tool to let others know when the Refuge had been “cleared” of any Federal employees on January 2, 2016. Others have described it as a “Call to Battle” with God leading the charge.
Thornton has repeatedly said that it is part of his Christian ministry. He praises God through his Shofar. Judge Brown is a bit flummoxed, apparently, over this instrument to the point of calling Thornton “Mr. Shofar” in the court record.
Judge Brown pushing the envelope…
Yet, Judge Anna Brown has continued to refer to them as the “Co-conspirators”. She has, also, allowed the prosecution to refer to them as such.
This brings up several legal questions. First is the fact that this case is called “US vs. Ammon Bundy, et. al.” meaning Ammon Bundy and others. The jurors very clearly ruled out any conviction of “Conspiracy to Impede”, so why are the current defendants even being charged with this crime?
How can they be found guilty of conspiracy when those that they are said to have conspired with were LEGALLY found Not Guilty of this crime?
But, with the Judge and Prosecutors constantly referring to them as “co-conspirators” the jury is being led to believe that these people have been convicted. I wonder if the previous defendants would have enough evidence to bring a slander suit against Judge Brown? It is certainly worth looking into.