LAS VEGAS, April 21 (UPI) — A federal judge in Las Vegas ruled that brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy should remain in jail while awaiting trial for the 2014 armed standoff with law enforcement in southeastern Nevada that became known as the “Bundy standoff.”
U.S. Magistrate Judge George Foley Jr. on Wednesday denied the brothers’ motions for release from federal custody. Ammon Bundy’s attorney, Daniel Hill, argued his client should be released because he was attempting to prevent violence during the incident and cautioned others against bringing firearms to free the Bundy’s cattle that had been rounded up and corralled by the federal Bureau of Land Management near Bunkerville for nonpayment of grazing fees.
In the courtroom, Hill also attempted to paint a violent picture of federal abuse by the BLM against the Bundys, stating the agency “constructed and built a compound” of towers in the farmland with armed snipers who killed Bundy cattle — also describing “mass graves of cattle shot from helicopters.”
“There is an awful lot more to this story,” Hill said.
However, U.S. Attorney Steven Myhre described Ammon Bundy as an outlaw.
“He’s a violent man who does not follow the law,” Myhre said in court. “He can have those ideologies and beliefs, but he can’t take up guns to enforce them.”
Last week, pleas of “not guilty” were entered on behalf of Ammon, 40, and Ryan, 43, as well as Ryan Payne, 32, Brian Cavalier, 44, and Blaine Cooper, 36 — other defendants in the incident.
The five men were also involved in the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon earlier this year. They were transported from Oregon to Las Vegas by U.S. Marshals.
The brothers face several felony charges stemming from a 2014 conflict at the Bundy ranch in Bunkerville between their father Cliven, 69, and federal agents. The elder Bundy allegedly refused to pay fees for his cattle to graze on public lands, which led from federal pressure to the armed standoff. Cliven was arraigned for the conflict in March and refused to enter a plea.
Federal prosecutors said the brothers helped coordinate armed protests in Bunkerville, but avoided prosecution for about two years until their involvement with the armed takeover in Oregon in January.