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Ammon Bundy Released from Federal Custody, Placed Under House Arrest

For the first time since his extradition to Nevada, Ammon Bundy walked outside the Lloyd George Federal Courthouse in Las Vegas this morning to greet family, supporters, and the media. Yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro ordered Cliven and Ammon Bundy released from federal custody and placed under house arrest for the remainder of their criminal trial for their roles in the April 2014 armed standoff near Bunkerville. Cliven Bundy has refused Navarro’s offer of house arrest, but Ammon Bundy accepted Navarro’s ruling.

Why is Ammon Bundy out of jail, and why is Cliven Bundy still in?

Until this week, the Bundys were accusing Judge Navarro and the Nevada U.S. District Court of conducting an unfair trial and placing them in “inhumane conditions” at the Nevada Southern Detention Center in Pahrump, a federal facility where criminal defendants are often housed during trial. Cliven Bundy continues to object to his criminal charges, yet he refuses to accept Navarro’s offer of house arrest during the trial, rather demanding full exoneration for himself and all of his co-defendants.

Ammon Bundy, on the other hand, accepted Navarro’s offer. In doing so, he agreed to the conditions Navarro placed on his house arrest, such as wearing an ankle monitor, refraining from contact with his co-defendants outside the presence of their attorneys, and remaining in Clark County for the duration of the trial.

Photo by Andrew Davey

Bundy family members, militia supporters, and local media gathered outside the federal courthouse early this morning to meet Ammon Bundy. Just before 11:00 AM, he finally emerged.

“What we did was right. […] We hope more Americans will do the same thing.”
– Ammon Bundy

After huddling with family members, Bundy took a few questions from the media. He began by framing the pointing of guns at federal agents as a defense of civil rights: “What we did was right. What we did was according to our rights. We hope more Americans will do the same thing.”

Yesterday, Judge Gloria Navarro allowed Cliven and Ammon Bundy to go into house arrest for the remainder of the #BundyTrial. Ammon Bundy accepted Navarro's offer, and is walking out of the Las Vegas federal courthouse now.

Posted by Nevada Forward on Thursday, November 30, 2017

Since the Bundy Ranch standoff, the nation has seen a spike in anti-government extremist activity, from the assassination of Las Vegas Metro Police Officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo in June 2014 to the neo-Nazi violence that rocked Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017. Outside the courthouse today, Bundy left unclear what exactly he wanted more Americans to do.

When pressed about his statement, Ammon Bundy said, “Identify their rights, and stand up for them.” Bundy continued, “Recognize the right to peacefully assemble, and to grieve our government.”

“I wouldn’t be out here if the evidence wasn’t proving that we’re at least somewhat less innocent than they thought last week.”
– Ammon Bundy

According to federal prosecutors and several witnesses, the Bundys and their anti-government militia allies did not “peacefully assemble” in April 2014. Rather, they threatened BLM officials who were enforcing court orders regarding Cliven Bundy’s refusal to pay grazing fees and keep his cattle out of no-grazing zones on federal public lands.

Ammon Bundy pointed to his own release as proof of his innocence: “I wouldn’t be out here if the evidence wasn’t proving that we’re at least somewhat less innocent than they thought last week.” Bundy continued, “[Judge Navarro] saw something, and she did with her power what she was supposed to do. I’m standing here because of that.”

“What happened [in April 2014] is not what the government says happened.”
– Ammon Bundy

Outside the courthouse, Bundy remained defiant as he insisted, “What happened [in April 2014] is not what the government says happened. […] The evidence the government has produced is not how they presented it.”

As the criminal trial goes on, the Bundys and their attorneys will continue to refute the prosecution’s case in court. Cliven, Ammon, and Ryan Bundy, along with co-defendant Ryan Payne, each face 16 criminal charges, as they are accused of organizing armed militia to threaten government officers. The next court date is set for Monday, December 11.

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