Bundy’s Pursue Release of All Defendants
The Bundy family and supporters are grappling with what to do about the tyrannical outcome of the Bundy trial co-defendants that are still incarcerated. Ammon Bundy is asking the jurors that served on the Grand Jury or the first and second trials in Nevada to review information that was withheld from them. Ammon Bundy would like to determine if those on the Grand Jury would still have indicted; and if the trial jurors would still have convicted the defendants, if they had seen the evidence that was withheld due to the Brady violations of the prosecutorial team. This is the same evidence that freed the last two groups of defendants.
Another approach to freeing these men 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, Jerry Delemus and Pete Santilli, who all took plea agreements; plus Todd Engel and Greg Burelson, who were convicted at the first trial.
A review of the court records for the USA v Cliven Bundy trials reveal how biased the court proceedings really were. Listed below are types of evidence and arguments that the defendants and their attorneys were not allowed to make. This bulleted list is from a motion Prosecutor Steven Myhre filed for the third trial. Very similar motions were filed for each trial and Judge Navarro granted each one. These restrictions are placed solely on the defense evidence and arguments and led the way for many of the prosecutions Brady violations:
- Self- defense, defense of others, or defense of property, justification, necessity arguments which have no foundation in the law;
- Third-party/lay person testimony about the level of force displayed or used by law enforcement officers…
- Opinions/public statements of Governor Brian Sandoval of April 8, 2014 and/or opinions registered by other political office holders…
- Allegations of workplace misconduct by SAC… (Special Agent in Charge, Daniel Love)
- Allegations that officers connected with the impoundment acted unethically…or they improperly shredded documents.
- References to supposed mistreatment of cattle…
- Legal arguments, beliefs, explanations or opinions that the federal government does not own the land or have legal authority…
- Legal arguments, beliefs, explanations, or opinions regarding infringement on First and Second Amendment rights, including any effort to confuse the jury that there is some form of “journalist” or “protest” immunity for the crimes charged;
- References to punishment the defendants may face if convicted of the offenses;
- References to the Oregon trial of United States v. Ammon Bundy, Ryan Payne, and Ryan Bundy or the results in that trial;
- References to the outcomes in the previous two trials in this case and
- Legal arguments, explanations, or opinions advancing defendants’ views of the U.S. Constitution…
The defendants in the first two trials only had a week to present their case and most of that time was spent with the judge disqualifying witnesses and evidence without the jury being present in the courtroom. During the second trial, the restrictions on what could be said left the defendant’s attorneys with no intelligent closing arguments to make. All four attorneys, with their clients’ consent, declined making a closing argument. The jury may have seen the act of declining their closing argument as a red flag, letting the jury know that there was something very wrong with how the case was being presented. There were no convictions at the conclusion of that second trial!
The worst example of the governments persecution of these men fell to Greg Burleson during the first trial. He was sentenced to 68 years and three months in federal prison for his minor role in the April 12, 2014 protest near the Cliven Bundy Ranch. At his age of 53, that is a life sentence. He was among the least culpable group of defendants.
Greg Burleson provided basic security on April 12, 2014 for the crowd of protesters in the Topqua Wash. The prosecution team used a photo of Burleson holding a long gun at the protest, yet no witnesses nor photos established that he ever raised or aimed his weapon in any direction. Burleson spent a lesser amount of time at the protest than most of his co-defendants. He did make the mistakes of later posting numerous extreme comments on Facebook and he allowed Longbow Productions to interview him.
A motion to exclude the Longbow Productions evidence from the Cliven Bundy case, filed in February 2017 states, “the FBI created a fake film production company designed to trick defendants into making boastful, false, and potentially incriminating statements that could be used against Defendants.” Daniel Hill, Ammon Bundy’s lawyer, stated that “they impersonated journalists so they could interrogate people the FBI fully intended on charging with serious crimes, without any lawyers present.
Longbow traveled to at least five states to interview at least 20 different people. They plied Greg Burleson with alcohol and baited him into making several rash statements that included bragging that he went to the Bundy Ranch “to kill federal agents”. The motion to exclude the Longbow documentary evidence was denied yet the fact that Greg Burelson was given two alcoholic drinks by the FBI just before his interview was withheld from the jury.
An excerpt from an interview with Greg Burleson, produced by undercover FBI agents posing as filmmakers, obtained by The Intercept:
Attorney Terrence Jacksons aligning his client with the FBI in the Cliven Bundy case of the Bunkerville protest seemed to be counterproductive at best. Jackson made no attempt to have Greg Burleson explain what his involvement with the FBI had been. After the trial Greg Burleson was able to have a friend post his explanation, but it was too late and the jury did not have that information when they found him guilty.
Burleson’s public statement explained his involvement with the ‘US Border Guard’ organization founded by a man named J. T. Ready. They were a militia group that “located and documented cartel foot paths and vehicle paths into the United States, where cartel drug mules and human smugglers would wait to be picked up by their contacts and taken into the country”. Greg Burleson described how they “…would give all this information to Border Patrol Tactical Division or Maricopa County Sheriffs Department and Pinal County Sheriffs Department. So we were cooperating with law enforcement and they actually were kind of grateful for us especially when we were able to shadow cartel people moving through the desert at night.”
“…In 2012 this is how I got involved with the FBI. J.T. Ready committed a quadruple murder suicide. You can look this up on line. He killed his girlfriend, her daughter, her granddaughter, the father of the child and then killed himself. The FBI contacted me for whatever reason, I guess because I was associated with him in the past. They wanted to know how he got money for supplies and equipment and stuff you know and they called me in to ask me what I knew about J.T. Ready.”
”I ‘never’ gave them any information on any specific individual or any group that they were asking about”…”I simply told them information about new cartel, new paths, layover points, lookout points and you know stuff that we were finding out in the desert. I was giving them information I wanted to give them and not what they were looking for. ‘They’ weren’t really interested in the information about the cartels and stuff.”
“…THIS IS CRITICAL NOW…they kicked me to the curb!! In other words they terminated our agreement and when they did that, the person that did that was Adam Nixon”… “But they ‘did’ terminate my services in 2013! I was NOT a FBI agent or informant or anything down in the wash in 2014. 2014 when I went there was strictly to find out if what I was seeing on the internet was true and to give aid, comfort and support to the Bundys and the protestors and supporters.”
Burleson went on to explain the contact he made with the FBI on January 5, 2015; “I called Mark Caputo to see if he could give me legal advise or possibly turn me towards a good 2nd Amendment lawyer. Also I was asking him why I was on the terrorist watch list?”
“When they brought Caputo on the stand in the trial, his sole purpose was nothing more than character assassination and to drive a wedge between me and the so called Patriot community.”
Greg Burleson had been separated from his co-defendants during his incarceration in Nevada due to diabetes and related medical problems. He complained about not having his medications and a general lack of medical care. During pre-trial detention Greg Burelson went totally blind and became confined to a wheelchair. In the courtroom he was flanked by a nurse and attendant. The jury saw him only after his appearance had deteriorated to that of a man that could be perceived as scary; his hair was shaggy and disheveled and occasionally he had seizures.
A jury convicted Greg Burleson in April of 2017 on the eight counts including obstruction of justice, interstate travel in aid of extortion, assaulting federal officers, threatening federal officers, and using a firearm in crimes of violence.
At the July 26, 2017 sentencing hearing Greg Burleson told Judge Navarro; “Yes, I said a lot of crazy things. I’m ashamed of them actually,”… “Looking back at them, it’s like, wow, obviously I shouldn’t drink.” Burleson also told Judge Navarro, …“Yes, I was down in the wash. I went down there with the intention to see what was going on,” …”I did not go down there with the intention of assaulting or killing anyone.”
Navarro gave Burleson a 10-point reduction in his sentencing score based on the combination of Burleson’s medical issues, alcoholism, and past assistance to law enforcement. Burleson’s 68 year sentence was lower than the 87 that prosecutors had recommended. Burleson also was ordered to pay $1.5 million in restitution to the government, to reimburse taxpayers for the labor and contractor costs of the failed cattle operation.
Greg Burleson is sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison because; (1) due to his medical condition, he looked scary to the jury, (2) he was intoxicated when he gave an interview to the FBI who were pretending to be journalists and (3) he made some outrageous posts on Facebook after the protest.
Burleson’s own Public Defender, Terrance Jackson, might have turned many jurors against him by not pursuing whether or not Burleson was an active FBI informant at the protest. The jurors in the prior Ammon Bundy trials in Oregon found the FBI’s use of informants to be at least distasteful, if not unethical. Jurors that became sympathetic to the protestors may have been influenced to convict. Greg Burleson is now totally blind and in poor health, so poses no threat to society.
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