Prosecution Discredited in Malheur II ?
by Shari Dovale
Today’s court testimony brought to light many of the government’s shenanigans. At least 15 witnesses testified today, some of them for just a few minutes, as Judge Anna Brown tried to limit everything the defense was presenting.
But she did not keep everything out, as much as she seem to try.
BJ Soper, a founding member of the Pacific Patriots Network, more than contradicted the testimony of Blaine Cooper. Soper was at the meeting on December 29, 2015 that Cooper testified was where the plan of taking over the refuge was discussed.
Soper said that the people attending were bouncing around different ideas and ways of bringing more attention to the Hammond family’s issues. Protesting at the refuge was just one of many ideas brought up that day, with no special emphasis put to it.
Also testifying to discredit Cooper were his parents, Stanley Hicks, Sr. and Linda Hicks. They confirmed that Cooper had a reputation for lying. “He’s prone to lie when it serves his purpose,’ Hicks said.
Nick Fisher took the stand as an eyewitness to the fear that the protesters faced after the murder of LaVoy Finicum. Fisher, from Kansas City, Missouri, told of how they heard the Apache helicopters coming in and how the protesters were told they had “52 minutes” left.
“We thought he was trying to get a shot on us,” Fisher explained of the helicopter. “It was flying crazy.” Fisher choked up when he thought of the pure fear that raced through him.
Assistant US attorney (AUSA) Ethan Knight tried to minimize his fear by asking him if the helicopter could have been from a local FOX affiliate out of Seattle. “It was my understanding, “Fisher countered, “that it was a No-Fly Zone.”
Acquitted defendant from the first Malheur Protest Trial in October 2016, Jeff Banta, testified today of details during the final days at the refuge. Banta arrived for his second visit on January 25th, the day before Finicum was murdered.
The prosecutors tried to make light of his testimony by asking him if he ever claimed to be a television reality star. “I’m not? Ok.” Banta replied sarcastically.
She explained that Jason Patrick brought a reporter to them and that made her feel better because there would be a record proving they were not the aggressors. They were just defending themselves.
When asked if she was armed, Anderson replied “We always have our Second Amendment with us.”
Rancher Duane Schrock described the atmosphere at the refuge as that of a “family reunion.” He also said that he never saw a gun unholstered. When the prosecutors asked Schrock if he saw US Fish & Wildlife employees at the refuge, he said that he didn’t know everyone, but it was an ‘Open Door Policy’.
Terri Linnell, also known as “Mama Bear” took the stand and explained how she was paid $3,000 plus expenses by the FBI to inform on specific personnel at the refuge.
Linnell was asked if she felt like the protest was illegal. She said No, as an informant she was not allowed to do anything illegal. “There are rules to keep from entrapment,” she explained.
She tried to provide information and context on several of the points brought out, but the prosecutors continued their objections. “Stop! Stop!” Judge Brown finally told her.
Some off the biggest concerns for Linnell were the men pretending to be a Judge and US Marshals. She said they were Sovereign Citizens and she was afraid that protesters might actually believe them.
Brand Thornton did not testify, however, his prior testimony was read into the record for the jury.
Former Assemblywoman Michele Fiore came in from Nevada to testify about the meeting held early in January with members of the Coalition of Western States, otherwise known as COWS. Fiore always connects with the people as she has an outgoing and bright personality. Walking out of the courtroom, Judge Brown stared daggers at her as she waved to the jury and even said “Bye, Your Honor,” as she walked out of the courtroom.
The biggest news today came about the 2 men posing as Navy Seals. The defense team presented evidence that suggested self-described U.S. Navy Seal Danny Williams, of Burns, was cooperating with the FBI while at the refuge.
Investigator Mark Robertson testified that Williams made several phone calls to the FBI from the refuge, and played an audio recording proving it.
Todd Bethel took video at the refuge which had Williams saying he was a Navy Seal, rank E-18, and had been a Seal for eight years. When asked how he got past the FBI checkpoint, he replied “What do you expect out of a U.S. Navy Seal?”
(To those that do not understand the military rankings, there is no such thing as an E-18)
The prosecution had previously tried to discredit any mention of these ‘navy seals’, even suggesting they were a fabrication. Now, the truth has come out and the government’s version is, again, discredited.
Judge Brown is not too happy with how thing went today.
The prosecution will put on a rebuttal case tomorrow, including questioning Chad Karges again, as well as FBI Agent Ronnie Walker.
It is expected that the jury should get the case sometime tomorrow afternoon.