LAS VEGAS, Nev., May 16, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — Dave Bundy, son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, will remain behind bars while awaiting trial on charges stemming from the 2014 standoff with armed federal agents in a long-simmering dispute over BLM grazing fees.
A motion by defense lawyers to allow Bundy to be freed pending his February 2017 trial was denied during a detention hearing Monday in a federal courtroom in Las Vegas.
“I was hoping that the justice system would actually do what it’s supposed to do,” said MaryLynn Bundy, Dave Bundy’s wife and mother to their six children, age 1 through 14.
“We were in for an hour and a half,” she told Gephardt Daily. “Our lawyer got up and said what he was going to say, and the prosecutor got up and said a lot of lies. Then the judge (Magistrate Judge Cam Ferenbach) read his statement from a statement already typed. I think that means you made up your mind way ahead of time, if you have it typed.”
Dave Bundy, 39, was an active participant in the standoff outside the Bundy Ranch near Bunkerville, Nevada back in 2014.
Family, friends and other witnesses claim Bundy acted as a peacemaker during the confrontation, while Federal authorities say he was a ringleader who rallied and directed armed resistance against federal agents who had come to the aid of the BLM.
Bundy was taken into custody March 4, 2016 while working on a new family home in Millard County just south of Delta, Utah.
MaryLynn Bundy said the prosecution’s argument Monday hinged on a letter her husband posted to the Bundy Ranch Facebook page three or four months ago.
“Because he wrote that letter, the judge said he is against the Federal government,” she said. “That’s not what it was about. It was about just the BLM, and did not say the whole Federal government. They could not get past that letter.
“Your freedom of speech clearly isn’t freedom of speech. You clearly have to be careful about what you say.”
MaryLynn Bundy said the letter the judge letter read in court Monday seemed pretty much identical to decisions read at her husband’s appearances in other courtrooms.
“How are judges even being fair and listening, especially when they have it (a typed decision) ready,” she said. “You would think he would be able to read his own words and make a decision out of his own mouth. I didn’t think that’s what happened in America. How did they know he (Dave Bundy) would be a danger to the people who checked on him?”
Prosecutors maintain Bundy would pose a threat to authorities who would have to monitor him should he be released prior to trial.
“I just can’t get away from the underlying fact that he directed supporters to take up the high ground,” Ferenbach said. “He’s a danger to the community. Specifically, to BLM employees.”
“It’s one thing to take a position. It’s another thing to take up arms,” he said.
MaryLynn said at 6 p.m. Monday that she had not yet informed her children of the court decision that will keep their father from coming home.
“I’m going to have to tell them,” she said. “I don’t know how they can understand. It will be difficult. But somehow, they will be able to get through it, day by day.”
MaryLynn said she and attorney Cal J. Potter are not giving up.
“We can appeal this judge’s decision, and it will go through Judge Navarro, then it will go through the Ninth Circuit Court in San Francisco.”
Eleven other men, including Dave’s brother, Melvin Bundy, were taken into federal custody the same day of his arrest.
Each man was charged with conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, conspiracy to injure federal officers, assault of a federal officer, obstruction of justice, threatening federal officers, weapons use and possession, and interfering with commerce and interstate travel by way of extortion.
They face a potential 80 year mandatory-minimum prison term if convicted.