PORTLAND, Ore.—Lawyers for the leader of the armed occupation at a national wildlife preserve in Oregon have appealed a judge’s decision to keep him in jail, while four holdouts remain holed up in the frozen high desert Monday, nearly a month after the standoff began.
Group leader Ammon Bundy should be released with a GPS monitoring device and orders that the Idaho resident not leave the state except for court appearances, his lawyers, Mike Arnold and Lissa Casey, said in documents filed Sunday. They contend government prosecutors failed to provide “clear and convincing evidence” those steps would not suffice.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie Beckerman said last week that Bundy, 40, presents a danger to the community and he might fail to return for future court proceedings. Beckerman said Bundy repeatedly ignored federal demands to leave the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and she had little confidence he would comply with orders to show up in court.
U.S. District Court Judge Michael W. Mosman is expected to consider the matter Tuesday, when he also weighs the government’s challenge to the potential release of another member of the armed group, Joseph O’Shaughnessy.
Bundy and O’Shaughnessy are among 11 people arrested in connection with the standoff that began Jan. 2, when the group called federal land restrictions burdensome and demanded the government turn over public lands to local control. Only one, Shawna Cox, has left jail.
Bundy was arrested Jan. 26 during a traffic stop, where police shot and killed Arizona rancher Robert “LaVoy” Finicum during a confrontation.
Since his arrest, Bundy has repeatedly urged the four people remaining at the refuge to go home. The holdouts include David Fry, who has posted updates to the YouTube channel “DefendYourBase,” which the group has used frequently to release information.
Fry has said the four want assurances they won’t be arrested and demand pardons for everyone involved. No video has been posted since Sunday.
Bundy’s attorney has said Bundy didn’t recognize Fry’s name and that he wasn’t a core member of the group. The other holdouts are Jeff Banta and married couple Sandy Anderson and Sean Anderson.
Those arrested face a felony conspiracy charge of using intimidation to prevent federal employees from their work at the refuge.
Bundy told the judge Friday that he loves the United States and believes government plays an important role, particularly in providing national security. He said he respected the judge’s authority and would be back for all court proceedings.
Beckerman said Bundy and other occupiers made threatening comments during the standoff, and she was concerned he might take over another government building if released.
She ruled that Cox could leave jail—with GPS monitoring—but only after the remaining occupiers leave the refuge. Cox’s public defender, Tiffany Harris, opposed that stipulation, and the Utah woman was released from jail shortly before midnight Friday.
The judge said O’Shaughnessy also could go home pending trial. Federal prosecutors objected, and he will stay in jail until Tuesday’s hearing.
O’Shaughnessy’s public defender, Amy Baggio, said her client wasn’t a key figure in the occupation and did not spend his nights at the refuge. Baggio said he went to the standoff only as a witness in case the authorities used force.