Monday, February 20, 2017

               The Trials Continue In Oregon and Nevada

      Federal Prosecutors In Oregon Get Help From The New Attorney General

                                        The Arguments In The Nevada Trial

               A jury was picked in Portland last week, 12 jurors and 4 alternates to hear the charges against the four defendants in the second Oregon Standoff trial.

               Unlike the first trial, more than felony charges are on the table.   Misdemeanors have been attached to the felonies and they will be decided by Federal District Judge Anna Brown, not a jury.

               The opening arguments begin Tuesday February 21st at 10am.

                Federal prosecutors want to use "evidence" they didn't in the first trial.    Last week they asked the new Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, to give them permission to subpoena former Oregon Public Broadcasting reporter John Sepulvado.

                Sepulvado interviewed Ryan Bundy for a Jan. 9, 2016 broadcast and with both Ammon Bundy and Ryan Bundy set to testify for the defense bringing the reporter in to tesify may be designed to hurt the defense case and convey the notion of a violent, extreme protest going on last year.

                Sessions granted permission for the subpoena to be issued.  There are concerns about the reporter being forced to reveal notes about his work or offer opinions about his interview.   The state of Oregon has a shield law for journalists.   There is no federal law to shield journalists.

                Meanwhile there's a trial of six men going on in Nevada, the first of three for numerous men accused in the Bunkerville Standoff near Bundy Ranch in April 2014,

                Federal prosecutors began to make their case last week depicting the protesters as threatening, menacing and intimidating.

                The defense counters that the protesters came there to help the Bundy's get their cattle back, exercising their First and Second Amendment rights.

                 A video has been released as trial began, showing aggressive actions of Bureau of Land Management agents against Ammon Bundy and others during the standoff.   Body cam video with angry comments from federal agents is also part of the 30 minute video.

                On the Saturday morning when the cattle were returned to the Bundy's, the prosecutors say the protesters were threatening but the defense says they came there with the understanding that a peaceful transfer of the cattle was taking place, only to find BLM agents raising their weapons at the protesters.

                Outside the federal courthouse in Las Vegas last week a supporter of those on trial, Gavin Seim, was attacked when a man named Doug Knowles tried to jerk Seim's camera around as he was sending out a live video report.

                Knowles is associated with a group known as "The Oath" who claim to care about the Oregon and Nevada cases but end up attacking people who support the accused like Gain Seim, Kelli Stewart, John Lamb and others.

                The activity of Mr. Knowles reminds me of thugs in a totalitarian state like Venezuela where red shirted thugs have routinely harassed opposition protesters for a decade or more.

                Last week President Donald Trump met with the wife of jailed Venezuelan opposition  leader Leopoldo Lopez.    Trump sent out a tweet that included himself, VP Mike Pence and Senator Marco Rubio pictured with Lillian Tintori.  The president called for the release of Lopez from jail.

               It was a good thing Mr. Trump did, but there are good things to be done in this country regarding those accused in Oregon and those accused and imprisoned in Nevada, including Jerry DeLemus,   DeLemus was the co-chair of Veterans for Trump during the New Hampshire primary last year, now he's jailed in connection with the standoff at Bunkerville in 2014.

              Mr. Sessions involvement in backing up the prosecutors last week does not send a good sign about the direction of the Trump Administration in these cases.

               It has been pointed out that pardons and so on can't be granted until after convictions in court and so on.  One thing clearly within President Trump's authority right now would be action regarding the Oregon ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond, sitting in a federal prison for over a year now.   They were sent back there to serve  five year mandatory sentences as terrorists.  Their crime was setting a backfire to protect their land.

               The Hammond's were the reason for the Oregon Standoff protest last year.

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