Bundy Found Guilty Of Trespassing During COVID Protest At Idaho Capitol

Screenshot/Associated Press

Anti-government activist and Idaho gubernatorial candidate Ammon Bundy on Thursday was found guilty of misdemeanor trespassing and resisting or obstructing officers over a stunt he pulled last August, when he refused to leave the state Capitol during a special session, leading state troopers to wheel him out in an office chair. 

Bundy was sentenced to three days in jail, for which he got credit for time served, as well as 48 hours of community service and a $750 fine, the Idaho Statesman reported.

Another man, Aaron Schmidt, was also found guilty of misdemeanor trespassing. The jury took around an hour to deliberate, the Statesman reported. 

Bundy was arrested twice in two days in August, both times at the Idaho State Capitol. On the first day, a crowd of unmasked people pushed into the statehouse’s gallery level, breaking a glass door panel. Video showed Bundy pulling on the door as state troopers attempted to intervene. The incident was one of many state-level precursors to the violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. 

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“Idaho State Police personnel determined they could not have made arrests on the spot without elevating the potential for violence,” a state police spokesperson told the Statesman at the time. Bundy returned the following day, when he was arrested again and wheeled out of the Capitol. 

Bundy had by then spent months organizing a group of Idahoans committed to resisting COVID-19 public health orders, activism that included ruining a high school football game by refusing to wear a mask. In the course of his own trespassing proceedings, Bundy was charged with failure to appear for refusing to wear a mask to court.

The activist, known for his multi-week occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016, ultimately turned his COVID-19 effort into the group People’s Rights, the members of which have harassed health officials and threatened to break federal law in order to redistribute scarce water resources in drought-parched Oregon.

In a statement Thursday adorned with his “Ammon Bundy for Governor” logo, Bundy said “the precedence [sic] this sets is very dangerous for anyone who may disagree with the presiding officers of the legislature,” but that he would not appeal the decision. 

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