US Attorney Myhre Sinks Deep in the Swamp
Judge Gloria Navarro surprised the defense teams in the Bunkerville standoff trial by allowing them three days of testimony in an evidentiary hearing, with a fourth day promised.
The hearing has focused on the shredded documents found after the protest in 2014. These documents are thought to contain exculpatory evidence, or evidence that would aid the defense.
In a surprising ruling, Judge Navarro allowed disgraced BLM agent Dan Love to be questioned for a full day on Monday. Love was obviously upset at the officials in the DOJ overriding his authority as the Incident Commander.
Love dropped a bombshell implicating former US Attorney Daniel Bogden in the decisions to release the cattle, bringing an end to the protest of the BLM cattle impoundment in 2014. However, the implications were that Bogden may have been planning to entrap the defendants into this prosecution.
Tuesday brought testimony from Kent Kleman , investigator for the Bureau of Land Management. Kleman was in charge of the investigation of the shredded documents.
During Kleman‘s testimony, it was revealed that Acting US Attorney, Steven Myhre, not only asked Kleman to investigate this issue, but set the parameters and directed the course of the investigation. This puts a large “Conflict of Interest” stamp on Myhre’s forehead.
Myhre made repeated attempts to shut down this testimony, calling it ‘privileged’, yet it continued with more details.
It would seem that when the original motion was filed by the defense in October 2016, Myhre called Kleman at that time to determine what happened. Kleman then spoke with Myhre at least weekly for the next year, discussing all aspects of the investigation.
During the investigation, Kleman admitted that he did NOT talk to all the principals involved in the event. This investigator testified that he was told of a “hurried shredding event” yet never bothered to ask WHY they were doing the shredding, though he was told that Command Staff were assisting. In light of this knowledge, it is amazing that Kleman never bothered to ask WHO directed them to shred the documents.
Myhre continued grasping at straws in his attempts to shut down this testimony, as he played with semantics in his attempts to protect the witness and distract from the facts.
BLM Communications specialist Toni Suminski testified that there was no shredding done on April 12th, as the personnel just grabbed their stuff and left the area. She also testified that “Nadia” came with Kleman to question her. Suminski nodded towards AUSA Nadia Ahmed, seated at the prosecution table, when she said her name.
This would indicate even deeper involvement by the US Attorney’s office into this quagmire of deception. How far did the US Attorney’s office go with this? Did they set the specific events to directly allow for prosecution of the protesters?
At the end of the 3-day hearing, Attorney Ryan Norwood (who represents Ryan Payne) pointed out that the testimony of Kleman disagreed with the testimony of Suminski. Kleman testified that some of the shredding took place in a harried and panicked manner on the last day of the BLM’s operation; while Suminski testified that the shredding on the last day–if any–had been quite calm and limited.
This led Judge Navarro to order YET ANOTHER DAY of factfinding on the subject. The evidentiary hearing will continue on Friday November 3 with additional witnesses. Thus, the hearing on the motion to dismiss the entire case will continue AFTER the jury is selected (on Monday through Wednesday, October 30-November 1).
How deep does this swamp go?
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*10/27/17 – edited to reflect the corrected spelling of the name Kent Kleman.