Bundy Bunch Trial Starts With Life-Or-Death Demand To Allow Idiots To Wear Cowboy Boots
Every word of this is a word.
The Dumbest Trial of the Year is set to get underway in Portland, Oregon, this week, as Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy, and five other defendants face federal charges resulting from their 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon. The first few days will be taken up with jury selection, with the actual trial likely to begin next Tuesday. Let's take a look at what kind of weapons-grade Stupid the defendants are bringing, using the always popular "Q & A" format Yr Wonkette trots out when there's no logical way to bring order to a big mess of a story.
Who's On Trial And For What?
This first trial involves the two main organizers of the Wildlife Refuge takeover, brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy -- that's Ammon in the big picture, minus his familiar beard, and Ryan, in the first pic to the right. They and their co-defendants are all charged with conspiracy to impede federal employees from doing their jobs; other charges include possession of firearms at a federal facility and theft of government property, as well as lesser charges. Depending on the charges, the defendants face between six and 20 years in federal prison. In addition to the Bundy brothers, the defendants include Shawna Cox, who was arrested along with the Bundys during the traffic stop in which LaVoy Finicum was shot by state troopers while reaching for a gun, and two of the final four occupiers of the refuge, Jeff Banta and David Fry. In addition, the group includes Kevin Medenbach, the genius who was arrested after driving a government truck into Burns, Oregon, to go shopping for snacks, and Neil Wampler, who in 1977 was convicted of murdering his father in California. You know how it goes: Kill your dad, then decades later redeem yourself by becoming a Freedom Fighter against federal government tyranny.
Was Anyone Released At The Last Minute?
Funny we should ask! On Tuesday, Judge U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown approved prosecutors' motion to dismiss charges against wingnut "journalist" Pete Santilli, who broadcast the drama at the Freedompalooza on the internet. Santilli's attorney, Thomas Coan (clearly a Zen kind of guy) had argued Santilli was only First Amendmenting at the standoff, and while sympathetic to the occupiers, was not actually part of the takeover. Santilli still faces separate charges ("conspiring to assault federal officers and brandishing a firearm in relation to a crime of violence") in the 2014 Nevada ranch standoff between federal officials and the Bundy Boys' daddy, Cliven Bundy, whose trial is set to take place in Nevada in 2017. The Bundy brothers also face charges in that case.
How Insane Will This Trial Be?
Completely fucking nuts, Katie. The defendants insist the government has no right to try them, since the federal government has no authority over public lands, which is why it was OK for them to take over the wildlife refuge in the first place. In addition, Ryan Bundy, who is representing himself, has declared himself completely outside federal law, so there. In late July, he filed a pile of pseudolegal Sovereign Citizen arglebargle informing the court it couldn't try him because he is actually a citizen of Heaven, not of the "United States of America":
“I, ryan c, man, am an idiot of the ‘Legal Society’; and; am an idiot (layman, outsider) of the ‘Bar Association’; and; i am incompetent; and; am not required by any law to be competent,” Bundy wrote in a motion filed to U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown.
Last week, Ryan Bundy filed another request asking for the dismissal of Lisa Ludwig, his court-appointed standby attorney, and also claiming that the charges against him must be dismissed because he has been denied the opportunity to view what he calls the "United States Attorney’s file." Judge Brown has shown no inclination to indulge him on that, because she is a tyrant.
In addition, one of Ammon Bundy's attorneys insisted that U.S. Attorney Ethan Knight was talking complete nonsense when he claimed that the federal court has jurisdiction in the case merely because it involves federal charges. Poppycock, claimed attorney Marcus Mumford, channeling Humphrey Bogart in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre:
“The government’s response says, essentially, we don’t need to prove no stinking subject matter jurisdiction,” Mumford writes.
Oregon Public Broadcasting had no report of Judge Brown's ruling on that one, although she might well note the movie is set in Mexico and therefore irrelevant.
The Judge Isn't Buying Any Of This Sovereign Citizen Nonsense, Is She?
Nope, not so much, although the LA Times notes she's apparently willing to at least let them say some of it out loud:
Mumford and other defenders have some room to argue, for example, that a favored sovereign legal principle — “adverse possession,” providing for the takeover of others’ land through occupation — applies in this case. It can be mentioned to show a defendant’s state of mind, U.S. District Judge Anna Brown has ruled.
But Brown also told both sides that the outcome will not rest on that principle or U.S. land management policies. The only question will be whether the occupiers prevented federal employees from doing their jobs.
Did You Say Something About Cowboy Boots?
Yes. Yes we did. The Oregonian reports another of Ammon Bundy's attorneys, J. Morgan Philpot (himself a time traveler from the Old West, we'll assume from his name) argued that the Bundy brothers should have the right to wear civilian clothing of their choice:
"We would prefer our clients not look like disheveled slackers in front of the jury,'' Philpot told the judge during Tuesday's last pretrial conference hearing.
Philpot added later in the day in a written motion, "These men are cowboys, and given that the jury will be assessing their authenticity and credibility, they should be able to present themselves to the jury in that manner.''
Ammon Bundy remarked in court that he's never even worn slip-on shoes or loafers before court on Tuesday.
The deputy U.S. Marshal in charge of the trial, Barbara Alfano, has said that cowboy boots would not be allowed, among other fashion don'ts for federal defendants in custody:
Alfono said the defendants who are in custody cannot wear ties, boots or belts as safety precautions.
Those accessories could be used as weapons against deputy marshals or the defendants themselves, she said. Further, the defendants will be wearing shackles around their ankles when they're taken to and from the courthouse, and boots would interfere with them. Those shackles, however, will be removed once the defendants are in the courtroom.
Judge Brown has not yet ruled on the matter, but advised the Bundys' lawyers to bring boots, ties, and belts to court for the boys to change into in case she decides to overrule the Marshal.
We would urge Judge Brown to not allow the cowboy boots, as they could be part of an elaborate escape attempt -- not with tied-together bedsheets this time -- culminating in the Ranch Stupidians' confederates on the outside tying horses to the bars of the jail, pulling out the window, and then escaping with them into the sunset. At the very least, she can cite the old joke about why the cowboy wore sneakers to the local bar on Saturday night: "I didn't want to be mistaken for a damn trucker."
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.