A federal grand jury yesterday indicted Cliven Bundy and four others (including his two sons Ammon and Ryan) on 16 felony charges dating back to the 2014 standoff.
All were charged with conspiracy, carrying a firearm in relation to a violent crime, obstruction of justice, extortion, and assault and threats against federal law enforcement.
The charge of assault on a federal law enforcement officer carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If convicted, the defendants would also have to forfeit at least $3 million worth of property secured through the crimes, the statement said
To no one’s surprise, Cliven Bundy was denied bail by the district judge in Portland, Oregon during his court hearing, the judge citing his past behavior as sufficient reason to keep him in custody until his trial.
In court on Tuesday, the 69-year-old Bundy wore the same light-blue prison jumpsuit and faded pink undershirt that the former occupiers of the Malheur national wildlife refuge in south-eastern Oregon have worn at their hearings.
“If he’s released and goes back to his ranch, that’s likely the last the court will see of him,” judge Janice Stewart said, finding Bundy a danger to the community and a flight risk. She said that despite his lack of a criminal history, his refusal to pay grazing fees going back nearly two decades and his fomenting of the armed standoff made it clear that Bundy has little interest in complying with federal court orders.
In support of the government’s case that Bundy should not be released on bail ahead of his trial, [Nevada federal prosecutor Steven] Myhre argued that Bundy’s “actions and deeds show his violent nature” and that many of the people who came to the standoff at the ranch two years ago were still at large and still “pledged” to support the rancher.
Bundy’s next court date is Friday in Las Vegas, where a preliminary hearing will take place on the six federal charges against him.
I remain utterly mystified at Bundy’s lack of foresight in leaving his ranch and going to Oregon. This lack of basic smarts seems to have been shared by Nevada state representative Michele Fiore, a big fan of his. She seems to be an even dimmer bulb that him, not realizing that the authorities were using her to get their hands on him. She seems to feel aggrieved, that this was not playing by the rules and that Bundy should be given a Mulligan.
Bundy’s attorney said on Tuesday that Bundy and Nevada state representative Michele Fiore, who was instrumental as an intermediary between the FBI and the remaining occupiers last week, were supposed to fly together to Oregon, but that Bundy missed that earlier flight.
He said Fiore was then supposed to pick up Bundy at the airport, but she headed to the refuge once she received word the situation was escalating. “She didn’t know the FBI, as it enlisted her services [as a go-between], was intending to arrest her friend,” Grefenson told the court.
Stewart said: “I fail to see how this is relevant.”
Bundy and Fiore seem to have fallen victim to their own grandiose delusions and been under the impression that the government would let him waltz around the country freely supporting armed insurrections.