This story has been updated with a statement from Reid’s office.
Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, jailed for his role in instigating an armed standoff with federal authorities in 2014, alleges a vast conspiracy to violate his civil rights in a federal lawsuit expected to be filed Tuesday.
The suit, which names Sen. Harry Reid (R-NV), his son, Rory, U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro and President Obama as defendants, calls for Bundy to be released from federal custody and awarded $50 million in damages.
In the complaint, Bundy alleges Reid deployed “the equivalent of federal storm-troopers” to meet Bundy’s “peaceful cowboys” defending their grazing rights on public lands. The suit states the “invasion and armed assault” was intended to remove Bundy so Reid and his son could profit off the sale of the land to buyer “reported to be communist Chinese.”
The complaint also suggests Navarro should recuse herself from the Nevada case, in part because “she is a Latino activist,” and Larry Klayman, the conservative attorney who filed the lawsuit on Bundy’s behalf, also represents Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who rose to infamy by championing aggressive border patrol by local law enforcement.
Navarro denied Bundy’s request to let Klayman join his legal defense team in April. The Southern Poverty Law Center calls Klayman “a pathologically litigious attorney and professional gadfly notorious for suing everyone from Iran’s Supreme Leader to his own mother.”
Reid spokeswoman Kristen Orthman called the lawsuit “baseless and absurd” in a statement to TPM.
“Bundy, his sons and their believers have endangered the lives of federal officers, have defaced and damaged public lands and squandered public resources for their own benefit,” she said. “They are domestic terrorists. They are deadly and dangerous and will be brought to justice.”
The 2014 standoff ended with federal authorities tasked with impounding Bundy’s cattle over decades of unpaid grazing fees backing down due to fears that the confrontation with the armed militiamen would escalate to violence.
Read the full complaint via Hansan Rasmussen:
This post has been updated.