Bunkerville Trial as Strange as Jonah and the Whale
by Norton II
Jonah describing the whale ? I know now how that biblical figure must have felt, coming away from events no less strange than being swallowed by a whale.
Did today’s Govt witness, one Robert Shilaikis of the BLM enforcement squad, imagine that he would find himself questioned by the accused, Ryan Bundy?
Dusting off an old chestnut, you have to ask what prosecutor Myhre was smoking over lunchtime. His behavior in the afternoon session was a startling change from the hardline character we know.
Elsewhere I have described this courtroom as hijacked by a rogue judge and her accomplices. Fair play then that today’s session saw the room commandeered back, with judge, prosecutors and witness captive on a wild ride.
The focus of today’s session was the actions of the above mentioned agent Shilakas and his partner Mr Johnson. The two of them had arrived unannounced at the Bundy compound on March 17 2014, tasked with informing Cliven Bundy of the impending roundup of his “Trespass” cows. Whether by fluke or by design, the agents found no one.
Wandering out on the range, they finally came upon a Bundy Son-in-law, Clancy Cox. At the agent’s request, Mr Cox called Cliven and informed him of the agent’s presence, and of their mission. Things were quiet for a few hours after this encounter with Clancy, then agent Johnson’s phone rang. The caller was Ryan Bundy, and the subsequent conversation, duly recorded by Johnson, was listened to three years later by Prosecutor Myhre as chock full of Incriminating statements.
Unfortunately for Myhre, the recording was also a capsule declaration of the Bundy’s stance against Federal overreach in general and the sordid record of the BLM in particular, expressed by Ryan in the most articulate and documented style. What was Myhre to do?
For those of us familiar with this prosecutor’s MO, his strategy was predictable: Cherry-pick the incriminating segments – or what he thought were incriminating segments – from the body of the recording and use them as evidence, hiding the rest.
The admissibility of these “Snippets” from the Johnson/Ryan conversation, so manifestly out of context, was hotly objected to in the morning session. Over defense protests however, Judge Navarro sided with Myhre, and the snippets, and only the snippets, were heard by the jury.
End of story? No ! The astute reader will recall my question about Myhre’s lunchtime activities, and I try not to disappoint.
Imagine our surprise when, at the opening of the afternoon session, Myhre signaled his acquiescence to playing the entire, UN-snippeted Johnson/Ryan recording ! For the next 45 minutes the court and jury were swept into a grand exposition – no less a phrase will do – by Ryan Bundy.
Deftly fielding Johnson’s questions and statements, we heard from a man thoroughly versed in the Constitution, expert in the history of State lands vs Federal lands, chiding a fellow Mormon (Johnson) for falling away from LDS principles, naming any BLM roundup as theft, and serving notice to Johnson that not one cow would be confiscated, Whatever it takes.
This poor pen can only sketch the scene, but it is doubtful if any courtroom in living memory has been so dominated.
Having just been run over by an 18 wheeler named Ryan Bundy, Myhre retreated to his accustomed pettifogging. Limp and perfunctory in his re-direct, he was soon out of steam….Finis
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