by Patricia Aiken
Explosive motions preceded the start of the Tier 3 Bundy Ranch Stand-off defendants’ trial on Monday, Feb. 6th in Las Vegas. Court appointed attorneys for Eric Parker, Steve Stewart, Scott Drexler, Rick Lovelien and Greg Burleson (defendant Todd Engel is representing himself) began the trial before Comrade Gloria Navarro, chief judge in the Nevada Federal District Court. Navarro was recommended to the bench by “Dirty Harry” Reid when he was Senate Majority Leader and nominated for chief judge by Barack Obama.
Scrambling to limit valid defense avenues and hide the government’s criminality, prosecutors are fearing another acquittal after their stunning defeat in October in the Oregon Refuge case, which involved many of the same people who defended the Bundy ranch in 2014. They are trying to suppress key evidence that contradicts the government’s dubious narrative. Prosecutors raised concerns that certain arguments could even lead to jury nullification.
Comrade Navarro did her job, ruling to disallow the views of Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, who was openly critical of the abusive action of the heavily militarized Bureau of Land Mismanagement during the stand-off. Sandoval, a former chief judge himself, found First Amendment “free speech zones” to be particularly “offensive.” In other words, at least some of the government’s criminal misconduct is not going to be allowed to be admitted as evidence for the defendants. Dirty Harry Reid, whose infamous remarks that supporters of the Bundys at the standoff were “domestic terrorists,” were also excluded.
Continuing the U.S. government’s constant attack against the Constitution, Navarro also ruled that, “Indeed, a good faith belief that a law is ‘unconstitutional’ is not a valid defense” and that Scott Drexler would not be allowed to argue that his legal views are correct. The Defendants will also not be allowed to mention the Malheur Refuge case (last year’s standoff at a federal site in rural Oregon).
After the first day of jury selection it was revealed that Special Agent in Charge, Daniel P. Love, who led the heavily militarized attack by the Bureau of Land Management on the Bundy Ranch in April of 2014, was under investigation by the Inspector General of the Department of the Interior for several years. Many people have called for an investigation of Love but it was not until complaints within the BLM surfaced that the investigation began regarding his actions at the Burning Man event in northern Nevada in September of 2015.
The prosecution has withheld this information from the defense which is an enormous and fatal Brady violation — hiding exculpatory evidence — any evidence that would tend to show the defendants innocent of the charges. The Salt Lake City Tribune published a lengthy report on the investigation of numerous ethics violations by Love including witness tampering. But Comrade Navarro ruled that hiding the investigation of Love, dubbed the Bundy Ranch Tyrant, was not a “true Brady violation.”
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