Bundy Trial Defendant Sentenced To 14 Years
On July 19th Todd Engel was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for his part in the Bunkerville standoff of 2014. He was found guilty of ‘obstruction of justice’ and ‘Interstate travel in aid of extortion’ during the first USA v Cliven Bundy et al trial in Las Vegas, Nevada in April of 2017. The ‘obstruction of justice’ charge stemmed from his possession of a firearm at the Bundy Ranch Protest against the BLM’s cattle impoundment. The prosecution claimed Todd Engels actions resulted in government agents not being able to do their jobs because they feared for their lives. The ‘Interstate travel in aid of extortion’ charge stemmed from the prosecutions claim that he traveled from Idaho to Nevada to intimidate government agents.
Todd Engel’s sister stated that “Todd was the one on the bridge begging for help from the ones in a law enforcement uniform. The same ones who testified under oath that he was ‘helpful’.” Todd Engel is appealing his conviction.
Last fall, Representative Dorothy Moon, Idaho Legislative District 8, wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions to protest the treatment of the Bundy Standoff defendants from Idaho. Thirty-one current and five retired Idaho State Senators and Representatives joined in as the “undersigned members of the Idaho Legislature”. They asked Judge Navarro’s court to “…allow Todd Engel to use his time served as total sentencing.”
Judge Navarro would not let the Engel family speak at last weeks hearing. She referenced assault and other charges that the jury was ‘hung on’ when determining his sentence. Although the prosecution chose not to retry him on the hung charges, the sentencing procedure used those additional charges to add time to his sentence.
The harsh sentence from Judge Gloria Navarro was a shock to Todd Engels’ family, friends and supporters that filled the courtroom. On January 8th, 2018, Navarro had dismissed the underlying indictment with prejudice. Todd was in the first group to be tried, the group that was considered the least culpable. The second and third groups were set free when Judge Navarro found that the prosecutions conduct was “grossly shocking” and “flagrant”. She based her decision to “dismiss the indictment with prejudice” on the need to maintain “judicial integrity” and to “deter prosecutorial misconduct” in the future. Judge Navarro stated that there was likely to be more prosecutorial misconduct and even BLM and FBI wrongdoing associated with this case.
When Judge Navarro dismissed the USA v Cliven Bundy case in January of 2018, Cliven Bundy stated; “The Judge Navarro, she did the government a very big favor… If we would have gone on for just a few more hours even, there would have been a lot of discovery made, there would have been entrapment brought forth… there were a lot of things she covered up and protected from coming out to the media and the people.”
The prosecution had withheld the same evidence from all three trials. Todd Engel and Greg Burleson (now serving a 68 year sentence) were the only two convicted. Jerry Delemus who accepted a plea agreement is still serving a sentence of over 7 years.
The Brady violations that the prosecution team were sanctioned for were minor compared to what was being claimed by the BLM lead investigator and special agent Larry Wooten. In a memo he wrote about “Bureau of Land Management Law Enforcement Supervisory Misconduct and Associated Cover-ups as well as Potential Unethical Actions, Malfeasance and Misfeasance by United States Attorney’s Office Prosecutors from the District of Nevada, (Las Vegas) in Reference to the Cliven Bundy Investigation.” Special Agent Wooten explained in his memo that “…former BLM Special Agent-in-Charge (SAC) Love specifically and purposely ignored U.S. Attorney’s Office and BLM civilian management direction and intent, as well as Nevada State Official recommendations, in order to command the most intrusive, oppressive, large scale, and militaristic trespass cattle Impound Possible. Additionally, this investigation also indicated excessive use of force, civil rights and policy violations.”
Steven Myhre had argued that the information from Special Agent Larry Wooten did not apply to previous defendants, and also that the information was not true. Wooten then wrote a second memo that was sent directly to the Department of Justice in Washington D.C. with more revelations. Todd Engel’s attorney, Warren Markowitz, who has viewed the letter, is fighting for it’s release to the public, describing the new information as akin to The Amityville Horror Story.
A dismissal of the indictment was the most severe sanction for the prosecution team consisting of U.S. Attorney, Steven Myhre, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys, Daniel Scheiss and Nadia Ahmed. The dismissal of the indictment eroded the credibility of the convictions and plea agreements stemming from the original grand jury indictment of all 19 men. Prosecutor Steven Myhre was quietly demoted after the Justice Department investigated, but no criminal charges against him or other members of his team have been made. At the July 19th, 2018 sentencing hearing, it was again Steven Myhre and Daniel Scheiss who argued for a 20 year sentence for Todd Engel in front of the same Judge Navarro who had chastised the prosecution team In January.
Ammon Bundy is asking the jurors of the Grand Jury and the jurors of first two trials in Las Vegas to contact him to review some of the evidence that was withheld from them. He would like to know, in light of the fact that the prosecution kept that evidence from them, if their decision to indict or if their guilty verdicts would remain the same, had they been allowed to see that evidence.
An example of the hidden information is the knowledge of government snipers overlooking the Bundy house during the weeks leading up to the Bunkerville standoff in 2014. The indictment repeatedly makes the case that the claims of BLM snipers watching the Bundy family were all lies and fabrications, calling them “false, deceitful and deceptive”. It is now well documented that there was surveillance and there were several SWAT teams and highly militarized BLM and FBI forces overlooking the ranch.
There is a new petition asking for a presidential pardon for all the defendants who stood with the Bundy’s at Bunkerville. It is on a website titled “We the People, Your Voice in the White House”. This petition includes Eric Parker, Scott Drexler, Todd Engel, Greg Burleson, Jerry Delemus and Pete Santilli. Although Eric Parker, Scott Drexler and Pete Santilli are out of prison at this time, there are still issues resulting from their plea agreements.
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