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Rancher who led armed standoff with government has to stand trial again

A federal judge declared Cliven Bundy's prosecution a mistrial.

by Josh Marcus
Dec 20 2017, 7:10pm

Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher and long-time government critic accused of leading an armed standoff between a militia and federal authorities in 2014, will have to stand trial again.

Judge Gloria Navarro declared a mistrial on Wednesday for Bundy, his two sons, and another militia member because prosecutors withheld some evidence from the trial, including surveillance records, FBI logs, a threat assessment of the Bundys, and an internal affairs report from the Bureau of Land Management, the government agency involved in the land dispute.

The dispute began in 2014 when the Bureau of Land Management attempted to seize Bundy’s cattle as payment for over $1 million in unpaid fees for letting them graze on federal land. The Bundys rallied their supporters, and soon hundreds of protesters, many heavily armed, joined them for a four-day standoff with federal authorities along Interstate 15. The incident drew a storm of media coverage and helped cement the Bundys as right-wing icons.

A new trial is tentatively set for Feb. 26, 2018.

This isn’t the first setback for federal prosecutors going after the Bundys and their followers. The government couldn't convict Ammon and Ryan Bundy, Cliven’s sons involved in this case, for leading a 41-day armed standoff over federal land policy at an Oregon wildlife reserve in 2016. In August, a jury also acquitted two men who were part of the standoff of all their charges and two more on most.