The end of the six-week trial for seven people who took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon can be summed up in two words: not guilty.
A 12-person jury found occupation leaders Ammon and Ryan Bundy not guilty Thursday of the government’s primary charge: conspiracy to impede federal officers by force, threat or intimidation. Their five co-defendants — Jeff Banta, Shawna Cox, David Fry, Kenneth Medenbach and Neil Wampler — have all been found not guilty as well.
Jurors were unable to reach a verdict on Ryan Bundy’s theft of government property charge.
Lisa Ludwig, standby counsel for pro se defendant Ryan Bundy, said her client and the rest of the defense attorneys had a simple approach.
“He appealed to common sense,” Ludwig said.
This is what passes for common sense in Oregon? A bunch of armed thugs took over a federal facility and prevented federal employees from doing their jobs. Were these facts even contested? A man who was part of this takeover died resisting arrest. Well, whatever. The jury has spoken. Rule of law and all that. The following says it all:
On Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown — whose coffee mug appeared to read “It is what it is” — began by reading out the not guilty verdict for Ammon Bundy, the leader of the occupation.
“Did I read the verdict correctly?” Brown asked the jury for confirmation.