LATEST: Bundy trial dismissed due to 'flagrant prosecutorial misconduct'
UPDATE (Jan. 8): A federal judge has ruled that prosecutors committed “flagrant prosecutorial misconduct" in their effort to prosecute Cliven Bundy. The judge has forbidden the government from refiling case.
News 3 is working to gather more information. Check back for updates.
LAS VEGAS (KSNV) - Nearly four years after it began, the federal government's effort to prosecute Cliven Bundy, two of his sons and others involved in the April 2014 armed standoff near Bunkerville could come to an end Monday morning.
U.S. District Court Chief Judge Gloria Navarro is scheduled to rule shortly after 9 a.m. at the Lloyd D. George Federal Courthouse in downtown Las Vegas.
The hearing is about whether a mistrial announced Dec. 20 should be with or without prejudice. Charges that could have kept the defendants in prison for years if convicted may be dropped. Or, the government could get an opportunity to consider starting a new trial.
The defendants are Cliven Bundy and sons Ryan and Ammon, along with Montana racer Ryan Payne.
Former federal prosecutor and now private practice lawyer Paul Padda told News 3 last month it was hard to comprehend exactly how the Bundy trial went so off the rails.
"Either evidence was withheld intentionally or based on negligence and or incompetence," Padda said.
In the course of the trial, Navarro found that prosecutors had failed to share video surveillance, maps and FBI interview reports with defense attorneys.
"A mistrial, in this case, is the most suitable and only remedy available," Navarro explained.
The case was about decades of unpaid grazing fees exceeding $1 million as Bundy allowed his herds to feed off BLM-managed land and ignored two court orders to remove the cattle.
When the feds moved in April 2014 to confiscate Bundy's cattle and force those payments, the Bundys went to the internet for support. Within days, hundreds of people from both sides had a tense armed standoff.
After smoke skirmishes in and around Bunkerville, then Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie, the BLM and the Bundys reached an agreement to have the cattle returned to their owner.
Months later, the Bundys and nearly 20 defendants were rounded up and charged with alleged crimes that could have imprisoned them for decades. They were held in federal jails for more than a year awaiting trial, judges deciding they were a risk to federal agents because of various undisclosed threats.
A document written by a former BLM agent that was leaked last month showed evidence of possible bias toward the Bundys and possible proof that snipers were watching from the hills -- something the Bundys argued as part of their defense.
An 18-page memo written by BLM Special Agent Larry C. Wooten to Associate Deputy Attorney General Andrew Goldsmith alleged and described nearly three years of misconduct by BLM agents by his agency during its investigation of the 2014 armed standoff between the government and supporters of the Nevada rancher.
“I routinely observed and the investigation revealed a widespread pattern of bad judgment, lack of discipline, incredible bias, unprofessionalism and misconduct,” Wooten wrote, “as well as likely policy, ethical, and legal violations among senior and supervisory staff at the BLM’s Office of Law Enforcement and Security.”