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IPFS News Link • Revolutions, Rebellions & Uprisings

Bundy Brothers Acquitted in Takeover of Oregon Wildlife Refuge

• NY Times

The surprise verdict in Federal District Court was a blow to the government, which had argued that the group used force and threats of violence to occupy the reserve, impeding the federal workers there. But the jury appeared swayed by the occupiers' contention that they were protesting government overreach and posed no threat.

In a sign of the high tensions throughout the trial, Ammon Bundy's lawyer, Marcus R. Mumford, was restrained by four United States Marshals in courtroom tussle after the verdict on Thursday. He was enraged that the Bundys were not being immediately released.

Later Thursday, Matthew Schindler, one of the defense lawyers, said: "It's a great victory to hear the individuals in this trial prevail. It's a tremendous victory." As he was speaking, supporters outside the courthouse chanted: "Praise God. Praise God."

The occupation, which took place over a month and a half in a frigid Oregon reserve many miles from the nearest town and was rooted in antigovernment fervor, galvanized the nation's attention. There was a Wild West quality to the episode, with armed men in cowboy hats taking on federal agents in a tussle over public lands and putting out a call for aid, only to see their insurrection fizzle.

"This is beyond any happiness I've ever experienced," said Ryan Bundy's wife, Angela Bundy, 39, in a telephone interview from the family ranch in Bunkerville, Nev. "I knew that what my husband was doing was right, but I was nervous because the judge was controlling the narrative. But they saw the truth. I am just so grateful they saw it." The family would be celebrating on the ranch Thursday night, she said.