Jury Begins Deliberations in Nevada Protest Trial
by Shari Dovale
The Bunkerville protest trial, first round, is coming to end. The closing statements have been given over the past two days. Each attorney spoke well and powerfully for their client.
Todd Engel, the only defendant to represent himself, had a short and emotional closing statement for the jury. However, nearly every sentence he uttered was objected to by the prosecution. It was obvious that the prosecutors were trying to ‘rattle’ him to keep him from being effective.
They would object to his use of pronouns, to his stating that he arrived in Nevada at a certain time, to his claim that he had breakfast that morning, etc. At last count, there had been 20 objections with only 1 being ruled in Engels favor by Judge Navarro.
Even with all of the attempts to disrupt his statement to the jury, Engel did very well.
The defense attorneys seemed to have finally found their groove with the closings. Jess Marchese, representing Eric Parker, was able to get a 45 minute video by Pete Santilli entered into evidence, to the disgruntlement of the prosecution team. Marchese got the entire video entered, though he only planned on playing a minute of it while on the record.
The prosecutors actually let this one get by them until it was too late. Judge Navarro, of course, did not see a problem with it because the prosecution didn’t object. Marchese did say he was going to recommend to the jury that they watch the entire video during the deliberations.
This video includes footage of the cows being slaughtered by the BLM, Ammon Bundy being tazed, Margaret Houston being thrown to the ground, and more. This is crucial information that the defense has been attempting to get in front of the jury, however, Judge Navarro has been accepting the government’s objections to this point and keeping it out.
The government did not limit their objections to just one or two closing statements. They were objecting to all of them, though Engel seemed to receive the majority. The prosecutors objected to Steven Stewart’s attorney when he tried to quote Benjamin Franklin. The objection was that there was no evidence that Stewart himself ever read the quote. Judge Navarro agreed with the government.
Navarro agreed with the government’s objection to Scott Drexler’s attorney, Todd Leventhal, using videos in his closing because Drexler did not testify. The video he was attempting to use was the “Longbow” video interview that had been entered into evidence by the prosecution.
The question was even asked, though objected to, “Where is Dan Love?”
Leventhal ended his statements with the quote, “If you don’t stand for something then you will fall for anything.” Let’s hope the jury got the message.
These are some of the examples of the rulings the judge has been making in her attempt to stack the deck against the defendants.
All sides have rested. The case has been given to the jury and deliberations have begun.
John Lamb contributed to this report.