Cliven Bundy case tossed: FBI, DOJ Malfeasance, intent to deceive cited

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Cliven Bundy standoff case thrown out in another stunning blow to government

LAS VEGAS — A judge Monday threw out criminal charges against Nevada cattleman Cliven Bundy, his two sons and a co-defendant in their 2014 standoff with federal agents, citing “flagrant misconduct” by prosecutors and the FBI in not disclosing evidence before and during trial.

“The government’s conduct in this case was indeed outrageous,” said U.S. District Judge Gloria M. Navarro. “There has been flagrant misconduct, substantial prejudice and no lesser remedy is sufficient.”

The dismissal with prejudice, meaning prosecutors can’t seek a new trial, marked an embarrassing nadir for the government, which now has failed to convict the Bundys in two major federal cases stemming from separate armed standoffs.

The judge on Dec. 20 had declared a mistrial in the case after finding prosecutors withheld six types of evidence from defendants, representing at least 1,000 pages of documents, that should have been shared at least a month before the trial started in November. She said then that she would consider whether to dismiss the case outright or allow a new trial.

On Monday, she spent a half-hour delivering a scathing assessment of the prosecution’s and the FBI’s conduct as she tossed out the charges.

Navarro found prosecutors engaged in a “deliberate attempt to mislead” and made several misrepresentations to both the defense and the court about evidence related to a surveillance camera and snipers outside the Bundy ranch in early April 2014, as well as threat assessments made in the case.

“The court is troubled by the prosecution’s failure to look beyond the FBI file,” she said.

She said she “seriously questions” that the FBI “inexplicably placed” but “perhaps hid” a tactical operations log that referred to the presence of snipers outside the Bundy residence on a “thumb drive inside a vehicle for three years,” when the government has had four years to prepare the case.

“The court has found that a universal sense of justice has been violated,” Navarro said.

The judge said it was especially egregious that the prosecutors chose not to share documents that the defendants specifically asked for in pretrial motions and “grossly shocking” that the prosecutors claimed they weren’t aware the material would help the defendants in their defense.

“The government was well aware of theories of self-defense, provocation and intimidation,” Navarro said. “Here the prosecution has minimized the extent of prosecutorial misconduct.”

[This is a snippet of the full article. Click above for full webpage at The Oregonian.]