Prosecutors Weighing Whether To Move Forward With 2nd Malheur Trial

Nov 28, 2016
Originally published on November 25, 2016 3:04 pm

Federal prosecutors are weighing whether to continue with a trial set for February for the defendants who occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

It follows a trial earlier this year where a jury surprised many and found the occupation’s leaders, brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy, along with five others, not guilty.

The second trial is set to begin at the federal courthouse in downtown Portland on Feb. 14.

Those facing trial in February are charged with the same felony as earlier defendants: Conspiring to prevent federal employees from doing their job at the wildlife refuge near Burns.

Given the leaders of the occupation were acquitted, some legal experts have questioned whether it’s fair to try the remaining defendants.

U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown said prosecutors must decide by Dec. 12 whether to move forward. The government could continue with the felony conspiracy charges or bring different ones, likely misdemeanors.

Brown also wants prosecutors and the defense to tell her next month how long they expect the February trial to last and what questions they’d like to ask potential jurors.

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