A federal grand jury has indicted Ammon Bundy and some of the men and women who joined him at the armed occupation of an Oregon wildlife refuge, authorities said Wednesday.I was so ready to say that the Feds have handled this case perfectly and then they do this trash. Simply amazing. The flippant attitude by the Judge isn't helping either. "You'll get a copy of the indictment in due course, don't worry".
However, the indictment remained sealed and further details on the charges were unavailable.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoff Barrow said the documents would be unsealed within 24 hours.
Barrow said the indictment was returned against the 11 people who have already been arrested and others, perhaps a reference to the last four holdouts at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
Defense attorneys demanded the immediate unsealing of the indictment — a request denied Wednesday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Janice Stewart.
"You will get a copy of the indictment in due course, don't worry," Stewart said. Arraignment was set for Feb. 24.
Authorities arrested 11 people last week on a criminal complaint charging them with felony conspiracy. They were accused of using intimidation to prevent federal officers from doing their work at the refuge in sparsely populated southeast Oregon.
In a criminal complaint, defendants have a right to a preliminary hearing in which they can question the arresting officer under oath about probable cause for the charges.
After an indictment, they are no longer entitled to such a proceeding.
The cancellation of preliminary hearings that had been scheduled for Wednesday dismayed attorneys for the accused.
Lisa Hay, who represents defendant Ryan Payne, said it appears prosecutors moved to scrap the hearings even before the indictment had been handed down. She was also annoyed that prosecutors presented the indictment to the judge and not to defense attorneys.
"That's an unusual thing and it's unfortunate in a case like this, where many of the people distrust the government to begin with," Hay said.
Fucking seriously? These guys are fighting to stay out of jail and many in the militia movement are watching this carefully.
They just added a whole bunch of unnecessary suspicion to the whole case. The worse thing? I seriously believe that the militia movement was completely fractured because of how poorly the militiamen behaved during the standoff. The Feds with this idiotic maneuver (I'm betting that they didn't want to give information on the case to the defendants) just breathed new life into the movement. From near perfection to utter stupidity in one day.
That's your Federal govt at work.