Prosecutors question Ammon Bundy on leadership role in standoff - KPTV - FOX 12

Prosecutors question Ammon Bundy on leadership role in standoff

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During cross-examination by federal prosecutors Thursday, Ammon Bundy backed off the idea that he was “leader” of the Burns standoff, saying “there were people there for different reasons.” (KPTV) During cross-examination by federal prosecutors Thursday, Ammon Bundy backed off the idea that he was “leader” of the Burns standoff, saying “there were people there for different reasons.” (KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV/AP) -

Federal prosecutors finally had their chance to question Malheur National Wildlife Refuge standoff leader Ammon Bundy in court Thursday.

After two and a half days of defense testimony from Bundy, the government shockingly only spent 15 minutes on cross.

Their goal was clear, though, as they tried to prove that Bundy led protesters to take over the refuge and prevented federal workers from doing their jobs.

For three days, defense lawyer Marcus Mumford showed videos of his client calling on supporters to come to Burns and protest federal land laws, doing interviews with news reporters and leading community meetings.

On cross-examination, U.S. Attorney Ethan Knight asked Bundy to verify that he was, in fact, the leader of the occupation at the refuge.

Bundy backed off of that idea and instead said he did not tell the occupiers what to do.

“There were people there for different reasons,” he testified. “There were people there for the same reasons.”

Bundy testified Wednesday that he believes that he and his supporters had a constitutional right to take over federal land that they felt was claimed illegally, but he backpedaled on that, too.

Bundy said Thursday that he did not believe the refuge was federal property in the first place, and he wanted the title to be returned to the people of Harney County.

Knight also referred to Bundy’s testimony from earlier in the morning when he talked about a pouch of money found at the refuge. Bundy said they put it in a closet along with credit cards used by Fish and Wildlife workers, saying “it wasn’t ours and we didn’t have the right to use it.”

Knight challenged him on that comment, asking if Bundy felt he had the right to use the other property at the refuge, such as the kitchen, offices and vehicles, or change the signage.

Bundy said he felt he took legal steps to claim that property.

On the issue of guns, Knight referred to testimony from Wednesday when Bundy said that if the occupiers hadn’t been armed, they wouldn’t have been able to stay as long as they did.

While still under questioning from his attorney, Bundy described the January 26 traffic stop that ended with his arrest, saying he feared getting shot if he made a move, and was too afraid to pick up his hat.

Bundy testified he believed his life was in "extreme danger" during his arrest, and described Robert "LaVoy" Finicum's death as an ambush, at which point U.S. District Judge Anna Brown halted further mention of the topic, reminding the courtroom that Finicum's death is not being litigated.

The day ended with tearful testimony from Finicum’s widow, Dorthea Finicum.

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