Nevada judge dismisses charges against Cliven Bundy, sons

Nevada judge dismisses charges against Cliven Bundy, sons

Nevada judge dismisses charges against Cliven Bundy, sons

The Nevada rancher accused of leading an armed standoff that stopped federal agents from rounding up his cattle in 2014 walked out of a courthouse in Las Vegas a free and defiant man Monday, declaring that his fight against US authority is not over.

Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro's ruling on Monday comes after she declared a mistrial last month in proceedings against 71-year-old Cliven Bundy, sons Ryan and Ammon Bundy, and Montana militia leader Ryan Payne.

The tense armed standoff outside Bunkerville, about 80 miles (129 kilometers) northeast of Las Vegas, stopped a federal Bureau of Land Management roundup of Bundy cattle from public land including what is now Gold Butte National Monument.

The judge ended the latest case by ripping government prosecutors, led by First Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Myhre, for "intentional abdication of. responsibility", "flagrant misconduct" and "substantial prejudice". She said prosecutors violated the Brady rule, which requires them to disclose any evidence that could be seen as favorable to the defense. The decades-long dispute ratcheted upward in 2014, when Cliven Bundy refused to pay a $1 million bill for at least 20 years of grazing fees.

In December, Navarro cited the prosecution's failure to turn over six documents or pieces of evidence as the reason for declaring the mistrial.

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Ian Bartrum, a University of Nevada, Las Vegas, law professor who has written about the Bundy case and federal land policy, called the complete dismissal a "pretty incredible result" for the family and its followers.

"I've put up with this court as a political prisoner for two years", Bundy said as he left the courthouse, alongside his wife, Carol, and attorney, Bret Whipple. These charges included using a firearm to engage in a conspiracy and threatening federal officers. When asked whether another standoff would happen if the BLM again attempted to impound the family's cattle that are still grazing federal land without the required permit, Ammon Bundy said: "I don't know, you'd have to ask my dad".

Just a few weeks ago, Navarro ruled a mistrial in the Bundy case.

In response to the dismissal, Mike Ford, Nevada's former deputy state director of the Bureau of Land Management, said in an email: "Regrettably, there is culpability to be shared, but numerous good people of the BLM, and others, will now be painted with the same brush of bad behavior based upon the lack of common sense, failed leadership, and irresponsible actions of a few perpetrated by Special Agent Dan Love".

No shots were fired before the outnumbered and outgunned federal agents withdrew. U.S. Attorney General alleging unethical and legal violations by the feds.

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