It appears that Ammon Bundy’s crusade against coronavirus restrictions has come back to bite him.
Ahead of his jury trial that was supposed to occur Monday morning on charges that he trespassed the state capitol last summer to protest against COVID-19 restrictions, Bundy refused to comply with its mask-wearing order. No mask, no trial — so the judge slapped Bundy with a new charge for failure to appear.
Bundy showed up maskless to the Ada County Courthouse on Monday morning, the Washington Post reported, and the right-wing rancher was denied entry. A crowd of supporters joined Bundy in a nearly three-hour standoff outside of the courthouse, where dozens of maskless protesters chanted “Let him in!” before Bundy was arrested along with three others.
Since Bundy refused to don a mask, which is required for entry to the courthouse, a judge then slapped Bundy with a failure to appear warrant for missing the trial, the Ada County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement issued after his arrest on Monday.
When a team of deputies at the Ada County Sheriff’s office tried to arrest Bundy, the right-wing activist refused to voluntarily come with them. Several deputies walked out into the crowd of reckless protesters to arrest both Bundy and another man who also defied the mask order to enter the courthouse, thus resulting in a failure to appear charge. The sheriff’s office said that Bundy laid down on the ground and refused to move.
Bundy is being held on a $10,000 bond and is currently in custody as of early Monday afternoon.
Bundy, who runs a nationwide and extremely eclectic “Uber-like protective service” for COVID-19 protesters across 16 states called “People’s Rights, is representing himself in his criminal case.
People’s Rights told TPM in an emailed statement on Tuesday that the group views the arrests as a violation of Bundy’s rights.
“Their right to a speedy and just trial of their peers is not subject to (nor can be denied) based upon what is worn (or not) on their face,” People’s Rights wrote. “Their rights are being violated, and they (including others in attendance at the time) are currently being held unjustly.”
Bundy’s vehement opposition to mask-wearing comes as no surprise.
Last October, Bundy ruined a football game at the high school his son attends for refusing to wear a mask, leading school officials to cancel the game at halftime.
Bundy rose to prominence on the fringe right for leading the weeks-long armed occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in 2016.
TPM reported in October that researchers found that membership in the Bundy-led People’s Rights extended far beyond Bundy’s relatively niche appeal by housing a spectrum of ideologies under one roof that wouldn’t seem to have common ground otherwise. The group includes tens of thousands of anti-vaxxers, sovereign citizens, Second Amendment die-hards and online edgelords obsessed with “Zionist Banksters” united against coronavirus restrictions.