The Occupation Trial of the Oregon Malheur Wildlife Refuge
By Scott Michael Rohter, October 2016
Dateline: October 3, Portland Oregon
There seems to be a clear and concerted effort under way by the Federal government to manipulate the outcome of this trial by concealing exculpatory evidence from the jury. The evidence which has not been allowed into court goes to prove the defendant Ammon Bundy’s motives and/or to corroborate his intent, but Judge Brown has refused to allow any discussion of the Ammon Bundy’s motives so far, only his state of mind… as if there was really anything wrong with his state of mind when he and his brother Ryan and a few supporters and friends decided to sacrifice their own comfort, safety, and freedom to support a cause they believe in… private property rights. I would venture to guess that Judge Brown probably thinks that anyone who is willing to give up their freedom for a cause they believe is probably nuts and deserves to lose it…
It is clear to me from observing this trial that Ammon Bundy more than any one else is the real focus of this trial. Nobody else gets nearly as much examination or cross examination time as his attorney Mr. Mumford does. Government prosecutors and the judge appear to be working together to limit the amount of evidence that the defense can use in the trial. It seems like every time Mr. Mumford or Ryan Bundy open their mouths to examine a witness the prosecutor is back up on his feet again objecting to the admissibility of their questions.
Every once in a while the judge lets her irritation with Ammon Bundy’s attorney show through. She keeps saying that she doesn’t want him to waste the jury’s time with more of the same corroborative testimony or evidence. She doesn’t actually use those words… She prefers to call it “cumulative” rather than corroborative, but whatever she calls it, what she really means is that she doesn’t want Mr. Mumford wasting any more of her own precious time… “Move along Mr. Mumford. Ask another question please.” But your honour… “Ask another question I said Mr. Mumford.” She would probably prefer to send all of the defendants to prison for life and just wrap the trial up tomorrow convinced that the defendants are all guilty. At least that is my perception… and I am a probably not too far from the truth. She seems especially irritated at times with Ammon Bundy’s attorney, while a little too condescending whenever addressing Ryan Bundy, but she doesn’t appear to be bothered by anyone else in the room.
As she sips from a cup of whatever it is she is drinking behind her hallowed bench.. I wonder why I am forbidden from bringing my preferred beverage into the courtroom… There appears to be one law for the judge and another for the rest of the people in her courtroom.
I don’t know how can we claim to be a Nation of laws when the government doesn’t follow the Constitution. The supreme law of the land is completely ignored by the government. From the moment that these defendants were arrested and even before… they were not afforded their Constitutional rights. They were not presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. They were locked up for more than seven months before their trial. Ammon and Ryan Bundy are still locked up. They were held in pretrial custody when they clearly did not pose a flight risk nor a threat to the community. They have been denied bail. They were placed in solitary confinement for extended periods of time, and worse than that… Ryan Bundy was severely beaten by prison guards for refusing to allow the government to remove the bullet which remains in his shoulder from the day Oregon State Police murdered Lavoy Finicum in cold blood. All of this happened before they were allowed to have their day in court. Is this justice? Is this what the government likes to call law and order? If so then I am ashamed to be an American.
Now that the trial is finally going on it appears that government abuses are still going on too. The government is restricting the admission of evidence so as to affect the outcome of the trial. They are very strictly controlling what the jury can hear. Instead of making their case by a clear and convincing presentation of the facts, federal prosecutors with the help of the judge are trying to prevent defense attorneys from making a clear and convincing presentation of their own. This is what I witnessed when I was in the courtroom with my own eyes.