Franklin Graham and defendant Jeff Banta take stand in standoff - KPTV - FOX 12

Franklin Graham and defendant Jeff Banta take stand in standoff trial

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Reverend Franklin Graham took the stand in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge standoff trial Thursday. (KPTV) Reverend Franklin Graham took the stand in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge standoff trial Thursday. (KPTV)
Aerial footage from the end of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge standoff showed the Reverend Franklin Graham praying with occupiers after they left the federal facility. (KPTV) Aerial footage from the end of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge standoff showed the Reverend Franklin Graham praying with occupiers after they left the federal facility. (KPTV)
Defendant Jeff Banta testified about how unorganized occupiers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge standoff were during the federal trial Thursday. (KPTV) Defendant Jeff Banta testified about how unorganized occupiers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge standoff were during the federal trial Thursday. (KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

The defense continued its case Thursday in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge standoff trial at the federal courthouse in Portland.

Two people key to the end of the standoff testified before the noon break, while there is the possibility of Ammon Bundy taking the stand in the afternoon.

Attorneys for the defense called one witness and one defendant to the stand during the morning session.

Reverend Franklin Graham, who helped talk the last holdouts to come out, testified that on January 28 the FBI called him asked for his help in negotiations. 

Graham, the son of noted Christian evangelist Billy Graham, said he would be glad to assist and then had numerous phone calls with the refuge occupiers and the FBI.

He said he prayed with the occupiers, encouraged them to put their guns away and to come out.

Graham also said he urged federal agents to wait until he could arrive before going in, which they did, giving him a bullhorn which he used to talk three of them into walking out of the refuge.

Graham then had to talk with occupier David Fry on the phone after the man threatened to hurt himself. Graham said when Fry finally came out and they left, FBI agents openly wept in gratitude that no one was hurt.

Also taking the stand was defendant Jeff Banta, one of the final four occupiers in the standoff.

Just before the noon break, Banta testified about how he became involved with the standoff after seeing videos on Facebook from his home in Nevada.

He said mostly it seem unorganized and that he never dreamed being there was illegal.

Banta talked about how chaotic it became after LaVoy Finicum was shot and not wanting to abandon those who stayed behind.

Testimony by defense witnesses will continue Thursday afternoon.

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