U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro ruled Monday in the case against Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy after declaring a mistrial last month. The Justice Department wanted to retry the Bundys and one other person, keeping Cliven in prison and his sons and the other defendant on home monitoring while the legal process drags on.
Federal prosecutors willfully withheld exculpatory evidence during the 2017 trial and tried to pawn them off as accidental mistakes so they could keep the Bundys in shackles and bring them back for retrial.
The case was dismissed “with prejudice”, a serious embarrassment for prosecutors. “With prejudice” means a new trial cannot be pursued. The judge ordered the rancher set free.
Navarro ruled a mistrial in the Bundy case last month after prosecutors “willful(ly)” withheld exculpatory evidence favorable to the four men on trial, including Cliven Bundy, his two sons and one other person.
The judge found that prosecutors had violated the defendant’s civil rights and violated federal law by hiding evidence from the court.
“The government’s conduct in this case was indeed outrageous,” U.S. District Judge Gloria M. Navarro ruled. “There has been flagrant misconduct, substantial prejudice and no lesser remedy is sufficient.”
The prosecutors called their egregious violations “inadvertent” and the judge obviously didn’t buy it.
“The Brady violations found by the court are regrettable and benefit no one,” Nevada’s Acting U.S. Attorney Steven Myhre wrote in legal brief, according to The Oregonian. “But because the government neither flagrantly violated nor recklessly disregarded its obligations, the appropriate remedy for such violations is a new trial.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is calling for an investigation of the Bundy trial for potential misconduct on the part of prosecutors.
The defense claimed FBI snipers and surveillance were monitoring the Bundy household prior to the 2014 Bureau of Land Management (BLM) raid to remove the rancher’s cattle from federal land after decades of unpaid grazing fees.
After Bundy sent out word for help, armed militia met at his ranch and the Bureau of Land Management forces backed down and left.
Prosecutors denied it but the U.S. Attorney’s Office had video evidence of it that they did not share.
They also withheld federal assessments that found the Bundys were not violent so they could keep them in prison.
There were other federal assessments that showed the BLM was attempting to “provoke a conflict” with the Bundy family.
The BLM agent in charge Dan Love directed the raid on the Bundy ranch and he was fired from the agency in September for corruption and unethical behavior.
Prosecutors had called the complaints about Love an “urban legend.” That wasn’t true and there are 500 reports to prove it.
Cliven Bundy at one point had the support of Sean Hannity and other conservatives but the media successfully and deceitfully painted him as a racist and his support faded away, but fortunately, he finally got a fair judge.
Though Cliven Bundy thought the judge allowed some of the violations by prosecutors were to be covered up, the AG’s investigation might expose them, if he’s correct.