See it here: Ammon Bundy reacts to dismissal of charges against alleged co-conspirator Pete Santilli

PORTLAND, Oregon, Sept. 7, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — Ammon Bundy, one of seven defendants charged with conspiracy in the armed occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon, is reacting to the news that charges have been dropped against co-defendant, Pete Santilli.

Santilli, 51, a self-described patriot and independent Internet personality, was with Bundy and his followers when they occupied the wildlife refuge in early January, and frequently broadcast from inside the compound.

Defense lawyers had argued Santilli was merely exercising his First Amendment right as a working journalist at the time of the takeover, stressing that Santilli never once stayed overnight at the federal facility.

Late Tuesday, federal prosecutors filed a motion to dismiss all charges against Santilli.

“Based on pretrial evidentiary rules excluding evidence against Santilli, the government has decided that the interests of justice do not support further pursuit of these charges against Santilli,” prosecutors wrote.

Ammon Bundy saw in the courtroom and witnessed the interaction between prosecutors, Santilli and his legal team when it was announced the charges would be dismissed.

“After our court proceedings, they came up to Pete Santilli and his attorney — the prosecutors did — and they basically whispered in Pete Santilli’s attorney’s ear and told them they were dismissing the charges — and the attorney was very surprised and told Pete. And then they stood and shook hands and they said ‘congratulations’ and that was it.

“Pete Santilli’s been in jail a year now — incarcerated for seven-and-a-half months and they just say ‘congratulations?’

“But let me say this, what happened today (Tuesday) was an exact answer to our prayers, to all of our prayers, that the Lord would get involved and that he would make something happen. And that’s exactly what happened. It was amazing.

“And we might want to say, ‘Oh, you know the prosecutors are horrible, the FBI is horrible because of the information that they’re giving the prosecutors, but really, at the end of the day, we need to be grateful for the Lord — and for the blessing it is to have Pete free from all these charges.

“We hope that they see that the truth is that all of us are not guilty, that we made the right decision to stand up for our neighbor and we made the right decision to bring attention to great abuses that are happening to good American families.

“It is our duty, our right and our obligation to stand up for a neighbor and to obey the Lord in that.

“We are innocent, and I pray that the Lord will continue to show forth his hand and we will be free from here. All of us.”

According to the motion by federal prosecutors, Santilli will remain behind bars until he faces federal charges filed in Nevada for his alleged role in supporting the Bunkerville standoff.

“Santilli still faces significant charges in the District of Nevada, and his release from the Oregon charges should make clear that he will be transported to Nevada forthwith to face charges …” wrote Billy J. Williams, United States Attorney.

Santilli is expected to be moved to a Nevada lockup, where he’ll await a possible February 2017 trial date.



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