A jury in Las Vegas deadlocked on almost all charges against six men being tried in federal court for the 2014 standoff between federal law enforcement and armed loonies supporting welfare rancher Cliven Bundy. The jury did manage to agree on guilty verdicts on some counts against two of the men, but was unable to reach a verdict on the rest. U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro declared a mistrial on the unresolved charges and scheduled a new trial for June 26, the same day that ol’ Cliven and other leaders of the standoff will go on trial.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal has the skinny on the partial convictions:
Gregory Burleson, a formerly active member of Arizona militia groups who used to be a paid FBI informant, was convicted of assault on a federal officer, threatening a federal officer, interference with interstate commerce by extortion, obstruction of justice, interstate travel in aid of extortion and multiple gun counts. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 57 years.
During the standoff, Burleson was photographed holding a long gun on a mesa, perched above the dried-up wash where Bureau of Land Management agents were impounding cattle.
Despite having been a paid informant, Burleson was happy to talk about his hopes of killing him some federal officers in recordings made by undercover FBI agents. The FBI had a very cunning plan for getting statements from several participants in the standoff: They pretended to be filming a sympathetic documentary about the Bundy Freedom-n-Guns Jamboree, with the working title “America Reloaded.” Here’s hoping once the trials are over, some clever documentarian makes an actual movie by submitting a FOIA request for that footage.
The other guilty verdicts came against Idaho gun humper Todd Engel, one of the Bunditarians who carried guns on a highway overpass above the federal agents, who was convicted of obstruction of justice and interstate travel in aid of extortion, for which he faces up to 20 years. The jury couldn’t reach verdicts on remaining counts, which seems incredible since he was representing himself.
Even though they were convicted, Burleson and Engel may still be retried on the remaining charges against them. They’ll be sentenced on the guilty charges in July.
Another Idaho defendant, Eric Parker, the guy who became famous after being photographed aiming at feds from behind a concrete barrier, was among those the jury couldn’t reach a verdict on, despite the photos of him training his rifle on law enforcement officers. Militia expert and Forbes columnist JJ MacNab summed up the astonishing outcome quite nicely in a single Tweet:
Parker fans are even happy to sell you a t-shirt, cap, or beer cozy commemorating his brave fight against tyranny:
But come on, the guy was a patriot who was just defending himself against tyranny. It’s not like he was a black guy reaching for his wallet during a traffic stop and getting shot to death for putting a cop in fear for their life. Yes, yes, we’re racists for even suggesting such a comparison.
None of the six defendants were found guilty on two key charges of conspiracy, which could present a challenge in the retrial, according to one of the defense attorneys, Todd Leventhal, whose client, O. Scott Drexler was one of the four defendants the jury couldn’t quite find any reason to convict:
I think it should show the federal government that they have a much weaker case than they thought going into this, because we’ve now had two months of testimony from over 50 prosecution witnesses, and they couldn’t get 12 people to agree[.]
RelatedBundy Family, Sovereign Citizen Loons Have Special Constitution That Says They Can Steal All Our Sh*t
Fortunately, there’s no chance at all “Patriot” groups will be emboldened by the mistrials or anything. It’s not like they have a skewed view of reality, as this ALL-CAPS Tweet from during the trial proves:
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