Cliven Bundy Speaks out Prior to the Upcoming Hearing before the 9th Circuit
The criminal trial of Cliven Bundy will be back before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in the coming months.(1) On January 8, 2018, Federal prosecutors were handed a humiliating dismissal with prejudice by Supervising Federal Judge Gloria Navarro in Las Vegas, NV. Judge Navarro dismissed the case against Cliven Bundy and three other defendants, citing the prosecutors’ “flagrant misconduct.”
This surprise ruling brought the anticipated six-month trial to an abrupt end after a little more than fifteen days in front of the jury.
As I reported in my book, Cliven Bundy: American Patriot, in her mistrial ruling the month before her dismissal of the case, Judge Navarro: listed six types of evidence that she said prosecutors deliberately withheld before trial, including information about the presence of an FBI surveillance camera on a hill overlooking the Bundy ranch and information concerning issues outside the ranch, maps, an FBI log with entries about snipers, threat assessments that indicated the Bundy’s were not violent, and that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was trying to provoke a conflict by antagonizing the Bundy’s and their supporters.
She also said: “The failure to turn over such evidence violates due process” – and further, she pinned the misconduct on both the prosecution and the investigating agencies.
That seemed to have been the end of it. But the Prosecutors couldn’t let their humiliation stand and in 2019 they filed an appeal of the dismissal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals – the most liberal court in the United States. Doubling down on their previous misconduct.In the appeal, Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth White asserted that the government’s failure to provide these documents was only the result of: “simple inadvertence” or because prosecutors “weren’t aware they existed or couldn’t find them” or they “didn’t think they were relevant to the defendants’ case.” This appeal refers to “a handful of documents” in an obvious attempt to minimize the ruling.
Still in Jeopardy
The Bundy’s fate continues to remain in jeopardy almost six years after the alleged “Standoff” with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and several other federal agencies at Bunkerville, Nevada, in 2014. The ruling by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has only a few possible outcomes.
Recently, I asked Cliven about this third and dreadful outcome,
“Well, we just need to trust God that it’ll be made right somehow down the line.” he said without a note of hesitancy in his voice. “I mean this fight on the 23rd is really between that judge and ‘em prosecutors. I have been considering not even going, except to see some good friends and supporters.”
Surprised by this, I replied, “Not going!?”
“Yeah, so far this court has never allowed me to make my true defense. I am grazing my cattle on Clark County land and the feds have no jurisdiction. So, why even concern myself with this here proceeding?”
“Except that you may end up in prison for the rest of your life if it goes bad.” I replied.
“Well, then maybe I can actually judicate the entire matter before a jury of my peers and get it settled. There’s a lot that never got heard in court. Things like the whistleblower's memo and our witnesses of what happened. I wouldn’t mind if all came out. Maybe we could make things right over the government stealing our property rights.”
Protest v. Standoff
In 2014, Cliven Bundy protested the lack of response by the Clark County Sherriff over the seizure and sale of his cattle by the Bureau of Land Management. What started out as a small protest of local friends and neighbors, quickly became a national cry of “ENOUGH!” as thousands of supporters descended upon a small community in Bunkerville, Nevada, after the BLM escalated a violent response toward the protesters in a series of events. From every corner of the country, many families—and a few private militia—arrived to stand with the Bundy family. Ultimately, this gathering lead to an armed confrontation, including the threats of violence by multiple government agencies against the protesters, even after the order to pull out of the operation was given from Washington and the return of the Bundy’s cattle.
Local law enforcement later expressed how truly dangerous the situation had become. “If you just have a backfire, somebody pops a firecracker, then it’s over. We’re done. We are going to lose that battle that day,” recollects then Undersheriff Lombardo.
Nearly two years later 19 men were swept up with federal indictments, landing each of them in federal holding for as much as 700 days before Judge Navarro saw through the Federal prosecutors’ misconduct and began to release the Bundy19, as they became known. But this release did not avert the damage done in two previous trials convicting two men, Todd Engel and Greg Burleson, to prison for 14 years and 68 years respectively. A third man, Jerry DeLemus, accepted a 7 year sentence under a plea bargain under duress. None of these defendants were aware of the deep misconduct by the prosecutors against the Bundy 19. As a result of the new revelations of misconduct, the three have each asked the Court to review their cases. Todd Engel’s case will be before the Ninth Circuit on March 23rd, the same day as Cliven Bundy’s and his co-defendants case. How Bundy’s case is decided will significantly impact those three men who remain incarcerated, but also could ultimately raise new charges against many of the other Bundy19 should a new trial be awarded to the prosecutors.
No matter how the court rules on the criminal trial, the civil judgements against Cliven Bundy and his alleged trespass cattle—still grazing on the range since their release after the 2014 impound attempt—could be renewed and another impound conducted.
The Bundy’s fight is long from over.
1. Court date was originally set for March 20th. It was postponed due to the Covid-19 virus shut down order.
About Michael Stickler
Mike is an author, radio host, ex-felon, and a highly sought after motivational speaker. He wrote his best-selling book, Cliven Bundy American Patriot after spending sixty days with Cliven in federal holding. Mike continues to write and speak regarding Life in the Red States and the Bundy saga. (MikeStickler.com)