Unsealed Documents Expose How Prosecution Attempted Rig Bundy Ranch Trials
I reported on Saturday that the prosecution in the Bundy Ranch standoff trials has appealed to Judge Gloria Navarro to retry Cliven Bundy, his two sons and Ryan Payne despite the fact that she ruled a mistrial based on prosecutor Steven Myhre’s “willful” violation of the law in holding back exculpatory evidence that was beneficial to the defendants.
However, unsealed documents show how the prosecution sought to rig the Bundy trial to get convictions.
These were, in fact, the listing of the prosecutions crimes against the defendants in their “willful” Brady violations, something that prosecutor Steven Myhre has a history of doing.
Judge Navarro is considering dismissing the case “with prejudice” and blocking prosecutors from retrying the case in an expected ruling on January 8, 2018.
“There were approximately 3,000 pages that were provided to us only after we started trial,” Bundy lawyer Bret D. Whipple told The New York Times. “I personally have never seen anything like this, especially in a case of such importance.”
Those documents demonstrate that the Bundys were not considered a threat or dangerous, let alone a high-risk threat to federal agents to the point they needed snipers and an army of armed agents pointing guns at American citizens.
That is a very big deal as the prosecution sought to paint the Bundys and their supporters similar to criminal Senator Harry Reid, who called them “domestic terrorists.” The reality is that it appears that the BLM and the prosecution closer resemble domestic terrorists than anyone at Bundy Ranch in 2014.
Of course, Steven Myhre and his team claimed requests by the defense for those documents were just a part of a “long list of frivolous and vexatious pleadings.”
Yet, a government witness revealed knowledge of the assessments in court during cross-examination, which proved the Bundys had been telling the truth about the heavy-handed tactics of the FBI and Bureau of Land Management. That witness also seems to have perjured herself as well concerning knowledge of Cliven Bundy’s water rights and an attempt to eliminate them.
Oregon Live reports:
A criminal case heard 11 years ago in the same Nevada federal courthouse may provide some guidance on what’s to follow in the Bundy case.
Bret Whipple, Cliven Bundy’s lawyer, and other defense lawyers point to United States v. Chapman.
The 2006 securities fraud case ended with a mistrial based on fewer evidence violations by prosecutors than in the Bundy case and then was dismissed at a follow-up hearing. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal.
In her Bundy ruling this week, Navarro said she chose to declare that each of the government’s violations were deliberate, though that finding wasn’t necessary for a mistrial.
“It does help to clarify the next step,” Navarro noted. She said she will decide later if the mistrial will be with prejudice, meaning prosecutors couldn’t retry the case.
Whipple said the judge’s findings provide a good argument for a dismissal; Navarro said the evidence withheld was “material” to the defense case and that each of the prosecution’s six “willful” violations resulted in due process violations. The documents confirmed a live-feed camera was aimed at the Bundy Ranch, and armed federal agents were watching the family home before the standoff, which the government had negated. About 3,300 pages of documents were turned over to the defense too late, the judge said.
“All we need to do is point out her findings that the evidence was ‘material,’ and the violations were ‘willful,’ and attach the Chapman case. In my mind that seals the deal,” Whipple said, believing that the withholding of thousands of pages of documents by the prosecution should produce a dismissal of the charges and a block on a retrial. “I’m confident we’ll get a mistrial with prejudice. One step at a time. We’re getting close.”
Tim Pearce adds:
Defense attorney’s asked federal prosecutors to hand over Inspector General reports on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) agent Dan Love, who directed the BLM raid on the Bundy ranch to seize the family’s cattle over decades of unpaid grazing fees. Love was fired from the agency in September for corruption and unethical behavior.
Prosecutors had dismissed the allegations and investigations of Love as an “urban legend,” but ended up handing over 500 pages worth of reports on Love in December, according to The Oregonian.
The Bundys’ lawyers made two requests to Navarro for a special “discovery monitor” to ensure that all relevant documents were being turned over by the prosecution. Both requests were denied.
Following the mistrial and the violations of law by the prosecution, Attorney General Jeff Sessions finally got involved and said he would be looking into the matter.
“The Attorney General takes this issue very seriously and has personally directed that an expert in the Department’s discovery obligations be deployed to examine the case and advise as to the next steps,” said Ian D. Prior, principal deputy director of public affairs.
I ask, if it is taken seriously, why is Myhre still on the case? Shouldn’t he be removed from the issue and charged with a crime?
So far, I’m hearing more rhetoric coming out of the DOJ with no resolve. Perhaps, Sessions is hoping Navarro will shut the whole thing down with a dismissal, but that would not deal with the criminal, willful actions of Steven Myhre and his team.