Federal Judge Gloria Navarro has denied motions to dismiss charges against 17 defendants in the Bundy Ranch standoff trials, but she has ordered prosecutors to turn over an investigative report that could severely damage the government’s case.
(Article by Steve Byas from Thenewamerican.com)
“The OIG (Office of the Inspector General in the Department of the Interior) Report details several violations of federal ethics regulations, misuse of government property, misuse of a government position, and ‘a lack of candor when interviewed,” Navarro wrote in a ruling this past week. “At a minimum, [defendants] may use this alleged misconduct on cross-examination to impeach [the agent].”
Las Vegas attorney Bret Whipple represents cattle rancher Clive Bundy in the case. He charged that Daniel Love (shown), an agent prominent in the Bundy case, is the same agent mentioned in the report. “I’m sure it is him,” Whipple said late last week. “If it is Dan Love…. He is the primary figure in the government’s case. He put together the plan.”
Whipple added that the report indicates that Love has no regard for the rule of law. Federal investigators claim that the agent, widely believed to be Love, wrongly used his influence as a federal agent with the BLM to gain benefits at Burning Man (a popular annual event, which draws thousands of attendees), and then intimidated other BLM staff to keep quiet about his misconduct.
Nevada Assembly Woman Michele Fiore said of BLM agent Love: “Scoring a few tickets and having sex with his girlfriend in a BLM trailer at Burning Man is the least of his offenses. This man is the same guy who threatened to use lethal force against American citizens and elected officials — myself included — during the protest at Bundy Ranch. … This guy actually disobeyed the direct order of our state attorney general and beat people up and arrested them when he had no authority to do so…. At this point I think the right thing to do in this situation is, to let our men who have been wrongfully accused of threatening the BLM, out of jail and put Daniel P. Love, the real criminal, in jail for a very, very long time.”
According to the inspector general’s report, the BLM agent, which Bundy’s lawyer insists is Love, was supposedly on duty for 24 hours of official work, for three consecutive days, but was also in attendance at the Burning Man event. Investigators claim that the agent intimidated co-workers to not cooperate with investigators, coaching them to say, “I don’t recall” when asked questions.
One co-worker claimed that the agent said, “You know, if you don’t side with me, grenades are going to go off and you’ll get hit.”
Michael Richardson, a spokesman for the BLM, stated, “The Bureau of Land Management takes allegations of misconduct seriously. These types of allegations do not align with our mission or the professionalism and dedication of our 10,000 employees doing essential work for America’s public lands each and every day.”
Sarah Gordon, an associate professor of law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, opined that Love’s behavior will certainly impact the outcome of the case. “This stuff,” she said, “suggests that he’s willing to cheat and lie for his job.” While she does not think it “kills” the case for the federal government, it certainly makes it much more difficult. “Anytime a witness is on the stand,” she noted, “you can cross-examine them and … try to impeach him. They can ask him about things that [could] show that he’s dishonest.”
There are 17 defendants in the case in which the government has charged multiple offenses, including conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
Clive Bundy’s multi-year feud with the federal government in a dispute over grazing lands on federal land ended in the famous 2014 standoff. Beginning in the 1990s, Bundy refused to pay the BLM for his cattle grazing on “public lands” near his ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada, located about 80 miles north of Las Vegas. The BLM ordered Bundy to remove his cattle, finally winning a court order in 2014 to seize the rancher’s cattle as payment for more than a million dollars in back fees.
Love led BLM agents in rounding up 1,000 head of Bundy’s cattle. Bundy reacted by using social media to ask for help to defend his land rights against the federal government. Several militia groups, bearing rifles and handguns, showed up from several western states, including Arizona, Idaho, Montana, and Nevada. After a six-day standoff, BLM withdrew from the area, arresting no one.
Read more at: Thenewamerican.com