Ammon Bundy's wife: 'The judge is very biased'

Ammon Bundy to testify in standoff trial

PORTLAND, Ore. — Lisa Bundy spoke briefly with reporters today on the sidewalk outside the Federal Courthouse in downtown Portland where her husband, Ammon, is on trial.

She did not mince words when asked how she thinks the trial is going.

“I feel like the judge is very biased," she saidof U.S. District Judge Anna Brown. "I feel she's leading the jurors. I think she's giving the prosecution everything and not allowing anything on the defendants. She is not fair."

Ammon Bundy led the occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in southeast Oregon last January.

Bundy will decide Tuesday morning whether to take the witness stand in his own defense — his lawyer indicated it is likely.

Ammon and Lisa Bundy have six children. Their oldest is 13, the youngest is 1.

Lisa said the family is helped by prayer, but it is a difficult ordeal.

“Well, the kids go to bed crying every night because they miss their dad," she said. "We have football games and baseball games that dad hasn’t been able to be to. Not one thing. We still continue to go to our church services and do everything that we're supposed to do and continue to pray."

Witness: Refuge less tense than town during armed standoff

A witness testifying for the defense said the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was peaceful during the occupation, a sharp contrast to what he saw as an over-the-top police response.

Pat Horlacher, of Burns, Oregon, said he drove to the Oregon bird sanctuary shortly after the occupation because he wanted to see for himself if reports of a dangerous situation were true.

The silversmith said he drove right in and met the Bundy brothers and Robert "LaVoy" Finicum. "It was as laid-back an environment as you could ever ask for," he said.

Horlacher said he tried to meet Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward, but he had no luck getting through heavy security. He said key government buildings were protected by armed police and federal agents.

"The only thing I could compare it to was a scene out of "Red Dawn," said Horlacher, referencing the 1984 movie in which Soviet soldiers invade a small Colorado town.

"You felt like you were invaded?" asked Ryan Bundy, who's acting his own attorney.

"Absolutely," Horlacher said.

He was among several witnesses Monday afternoon who provided a different view than the government of what took place during last winter's standoff. While prosecutors have highlighted the amount of guns and ammunition seized at the refuge, defense witnesses were more likely to describe children playing in the snow than men pointing or firing weapons.

Seven defendants are charged with conspiring to impede U.S. Interior Department employees from doing their work at the refuge through intimidation, threats or force.

Also Monday, Sheriff Ward returned to the stand about three weeks after he appeared as a witness for the prosecution.

Bundy went to Burns two months before the occupation in an attempt to get the sheriff to shield two Oregon ranchers from returning to federal prison to complete a mandatory-minimum sentence for arson.

The sheriff testified Monday that he initially thought Bundy didn't have all the facts on the case. But a statement Bundy released on social media after the two met led him to conclude Bundy was dishonest, not misinformed.

Ammon Bundy's lawyer, Marcus Mumford, reminded Ward he previously testified that he always felt comfortable speaking with Bundy. "Being comfortable talking to someone doesn't make them honest," Ward said.

Mumford tried to poke holes in Ward's previous testimony that a show of hands revealed that about 85 percent of people at a Jan. 6 community meeting wanted the occupiers to go home. He contended that some people raised their hands to the question of "How many want to work this out peacefully?" and then put them down when asked if they want the occupiers to leave.

A defense witness who was at the meeting, Kim Rollins, described a slight hesitation between the two questions. The video shown to jurors appeared to support his contention.

"I would describe it as a straw vote, to get a certain reaction," he said.

Judge tosses gun charge against Shawna Cox

The lone woman on trial in Oregon's refuge-standoff case no longer faces a federal firearms charge.

Judge Anna Brown had given prosecutors until Monday to provide more evidence to support the charge of firearm possession in a federal facility against defendant Shawna Cox of Kanab, Utah.

She's one of seven defendants on trial in the 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

All are charged with conspiring to impede federal employees from carrying out their work at the refuge.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan Knight had told the judge that he regards Cox as someone who aided and abetted the possession of firearms.

But the judge said the government must point to specific proof.

Four of the defendants still face the firearms charge.

Related: Occupiers present their case in Malheur standoff trial

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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