Bundys acquitted in 'huge setback for the government'
Leaders of the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge last winter were found not guilty yesterday of conspiring to impede federal officials in a shocking loss for the government. "I don't know how this verdict can't serve to embolden people that they can be free to take actions that involve threats of violence and instructions on public lands and escape with impunity," said Bob Dreher, a former acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's environmental division. "It's a little scary."
'3-ring circus' Bundy trial set to open
Federal prosecutors will kick off their bid next week to convict the leaders of the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Oregon. Opening statements in what promises to be a lengthy and unusual trial are slated for Tuesday for seven defendants, including the group's leaders, Ammon and Ryan Bundy.
Bundy wants court ruling on whether feds own Malheur
Ammon Bundy plans to argue to a federal judge that the United States does not own the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and cannot legally prosecute him and dozens of others who have been charged with occupying it.
LaVoy Finicum's shooting 'justified and, in fact, necessary'
Oregon State Police had every right to shoot and kill Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupant LaVoy Finicum during a Jan. 26 traffic stop in southeast Oregon, Malheur County District Attorney Dan Norris said today.
Grand jury indicts Cliven Bundy, 4 others for Nev. standoff
A federal grand jury yesterday indicted Cliven Bundy and four others on 16 felony charges for their roles in Bundy's armed standoff with the Bureau of Land Management at his Bunkerville, Nev., ranch in April 2014.
Cliven Bundy in jail; refuge occupation ends
Cliven Bundy, the Nevada firebrand who inspired an armed uprising against federal land control, sits behind bars and the remaining occupants at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge have surrendered, as the 40-day protest that has riveted the nation has come to an end.
Refuge occupants plan to surrender
The FBI has moved to within 50 yards of the four remaining militants at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, marking a major escalation in the 40-day occupation.
Finicum gets hero's sendoff at Utah funeral
KANAB, Utah — The sound of shofars, biblical instruments made from antelope's horns, cut the desert air Friday morning, as if calling followers to battle.
The tones honored LaVoy Finicum, the Arizona rancher who occupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge last month to demand that the federal government relinquish its Western lands before being killed by police.
The shofars were played by two men, Brand Thornton and his son Nickaoli, of Cedar City, Utah, who also attended the occupation. In the Bible, the Israelite army blew shofars before the Walls of Jericho fell.
"This man was murdered," said the elder Thornton, wearing a tie and jacket, standing among juniper trees outside the church. "He was executed by nefarious people."
Family and supporters remembered Finicum, 54, on Friday as a God-fearing family man who loved to compete, sing and play tricks.
Shot by police on a forested highway in southeast Oregon last month, Finicum was buried by his family in Cane Beds, Ariz., where he lived.
Grand jury indicts Ammon Bundy and 15 refuge occupiers
Ammon Bundy and 15 others who occupied an Oregon federal wildlife refuge were indicted yesterday on charges of conspiracy to impede federal officers through intimidation, threats or force.
Video of militant's death fails to quell claims of martyrdom
The man in the video emerges from his truck into knee-deep snow, hands in the air as he approaches police officers who have their guns at the ready. Then he reaches toward his belt. Police shoot, and LaVoy Finicum falls to the ground, his body lying in the snow for 10 minutes as police secure the surrender of the truck's remaining occupants.
The FBI released the aerial footage yesterday to combat claims of martyrdom made by the militants who took over Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Refuge occupants and their supporters asserted that police shot the 55-year-old Finicum after he had surrendered.
The video's release was an unusual move, and its full effect on public opinion remains to be seen.
But supporters of the Malheur occupation are already circulating the video with their own narrative of what it shows.
Police release video to defend shooting of militant
BURNS, Ore. — The FBI this evening released an aerial video of the Tuesday encounter between authorities and several Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupants on a highway north of here during which Oregon State Police shot and killed LaVoy Finicum.
FBI arrests 3 more as siege inches toward a close
BURNS, Ore. — The FBI yesterday arrested three more militants involved in the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, and five others voluntarily left as the nearly monthlong takeover winds toward an end.
Most at the refuge complied with Ammon Bundy's plea from jail to stand down and go home, leaving just a handful remaining.
Police at 3:30 p.m. PST arrested Duane Leo Ehmer, 45, of Irrigon, Ore., who had been seen frequently in the past weeks riding his horse, Hellboy, around the refuge compound carrying an American flag; and Dylan Wade Anderson, 34, of Provo, Utah.
At 7:40 p.m., police arrested Jason Patrick, 43, of Bonaire, Ga., a self-described "peace officer" who often wore a navy sport coat and a badge that read "Second Amendment — Right to Bear Arms."
Patrick, who said he arrived in Harney County on Dec. 8, 2015, was believed to be the de facto leader of the remaining militants after Ammon and Ryan Bundy were arrested Tuesday and LaVoy Finicum was killed by police. He referred to himself as "Clooney" when speaking to other militants by walkie-talkie.
Deadly shots ripped through scenic pine forest
BURNS, Ore. — Shards of glass and M&M's trail mix littered the highway pavement yesterday at the site where Ammon and Ryan Bundy and three others were arrested and where police gunned down LaVoy Finicum.
Sheriff to remaining militants: 'Move on'
BURNS, Ore. — Harney County's top law enforcement official today urged the remaining militants at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to decamp peacefully as federal, state and local police continued to patrol blockades set up around the refuge headquarters' perimeter, keeping this normally quiet town on pins and needles.
An FBI official warned that disruptions to county residents could continue "for a while longer" as police await the militants' next move.
FBI lays siege to refuge after 1 militant killed, Bundys arrested
BURNS, Ore. — The 25-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge took a violent turn last night when police shot and killed 55-year-old militant LaVoy Finicum and arrested Ammon and Ryan Bundy and six of the group's other leaders.
The FBI and Oregon State Police have surrounded the refuge, setting up roadblocks past which no one will be allowed. Anyone leaving the compound will be stopped and their vehicles searched, authorities said.
A convoy of police vehicles carrying concrete highway barriers and porta-potties drove past a checkpoint this morning on the way to the refuge, suggesting police might be preparing for a long impasse.
The shooting happened in late afternoon on U.S. Highway 395 about 20 miles north of Burns as the Bundy entourage was heading to John Day, Ore., to attend a community meeting.
The highway was closed at its junction with U.S. Highway 20 just east of Burns, where a team of heavily armed police officers stood watch.
1 dead as authorities arrest Bundys, 6 others
BURNS, Ore. — Shots were fired and one suspect died before authorities this evening arrested Ammon Bundy and seven others involved in the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
DOJ pressured to end Malheur occupation
The Justice Department is facing increased pressure to crack down on the militants who have occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeast Oregon for nearly three weeks.
Will Bundy and Co. go to jail?
As the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge rolls into its third week, many are asking whether justice will be served when the siege ends.
Bundy bodyguard -- aka 'Fluffy Unicorn' -- arrested in Ariz.
A man who served as a bodyguard to Ammon Bundy during the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and to Cliven Bundy during his earlier standoff with the federal government was arrested this week by police near Phoenix.
Ammon Bundy spurred by father and faith to armed takeover
MALHEUR NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, Ore. — "I did exactly what the Lord asked me to do." So said Ammon Bundy in a video posted to YouTube on Jan. 1, a day before he led an armed break-in of this bird refuge that he and more than a dozen militants continue to occupy.
It provides a glimpse into a devout Mormon man who has vowed to roll back the federal government's management of 640 million acres of mostly Western lands, clearing the way for more grazing, logging and mining.
Bundy, 40, came here because he believed "the Lord was not pleased" with the five-year prison sentences handed down to Dwight and Steven Hammond, two area ranchers who were convicted of setting fires on federal rangelands.
He's the third of 14 children of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who, inspired by Mormon scripture, has flouted the Bureau of Land Management's grazing restrictions around his Bunkerville ranch for decades and sparked an armed uprising when BLM tried to confiscate his cattle in April 2014.
Bundy rebuffs sheriff's request to hit the road
BURNS, Ore. — Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward last night met briefly with Ammon Bundy, the ringleader of the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, to urge him and his friends to leave.
Refuge militants fear impending arrest
MALHEUR NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, Ore. — Leaders of the dozen or so armed militants occupying refuge headquarters here said last night that they expect federal agents to attempt to arrest them soon, though they refused to say whether they would respond with force.
LaVoy Finicum, 54, one of the leaders of the group, which has called itself Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, said the FBI has five arrest warrants, including one for him.
Ammon Bundy, the son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the orchestrator of the occupation, said the group received the intelligence from a "solid source," though he did not say who.
"The FBI is indeed planning on moving on us," he told reporters gathered here at dusk in a mix of snow and rain.
After three days of occupying the 188,000-acre birding refuge in southeastern Oregon, the anti-government militants looked desperate and dejected.
Bundy son seeks armed recruits to join Ore. occupation
An armed, anti-government group seized control Saturday of an unoccupied federal building at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon, vowing to free up federal lands for ranchers, miners and loggers and asking others to join them with their guns.
The militant group, which reporters on the scene estimate at a couple dozen strong, includes Ammon and Ryan Bundy, two sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, whose decadeslong defiance of Bureau of Land Management grazing restrictions sparked a near-violent confrontation in April 2014 when the agency tried to impound his cattle.
It's the latest — and most brazen — attempt by activists to challenge the federal government's ownership of roughly 640 million acres, most of it in the West, and to secure local control over the nation's forests, refuges and public lands.
The bearded Ammon Bundy, wearing a plaid blue jacket and cowboy hat, said in a video posted by The Oregonian over the weekend that the 188,000-acre refuge will be "a base place for patriots all over the country" to take up arms against a tyrannical federal government. Occupiers have said they don't plan to hurt anyone but will defend their position with force if challenged by law enforcement.