Ryan and Ammon Bundy – the central characters in the occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in rural Oregon in January – were found "not guilty" Thursday in federal court of conspiracy to impede officers and other charges, the Associated Press reported.
The weeks-long standoff and subsequent trial have been a rallying point for anti-government extremists. Federal officials were hoping to make an example out of the Bundy brothers and five others who were prominent figures in the anti-government movement. The prosecution had extensive media reports as well as collected extensive evidence into the 41-day standoff.
According to the Seattle Times, after Ammon Bundy was acquitted, his lawyer Marcus Mumford argued that Bundy should be allowed to walk free immediately while U.S. District Judge Anna Brown insisted he stay in custody as Bundy still faced more charges in an upcoming trial related to the 2014 standoff on federal lands in Nevada.
The Seattle Times reported that the interaction grew so heated that Mumford was shouting in the court room before he was ultimately "tackled" by the U.S. marshals and eventually ordered into custody.
The jury deliberations also attracted attention Wednesday when a note from the jury alleged another juror was biased and had worked for the Bureau of Land Management, the federal agency that managed Malheur. The judge had the juror replaced.
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