U.S. to call first witness in Bundy trial; BLM personnel records sought by defense
LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) —
The first of three trials involving six "low-level" defendants in the 2014 Cliven Bundy ranch standoff case enters its second week Monday at the Lloyd George Federal Courthouse downtown.
The prosecution is scheduled to call its first witness. Opening arguments were held Thursday.
Chief Judge Gloria Navarro could decide to hear defense attorney motions filed last week that seek the personnel records of all Bureau of Land Management agents involved in the standoff.
The armed standoff culminated April 12, 2014, with Bundy's cattle being returned to him and the BLM calling off its effort. Bundy had not paid grazing fees for 20 years, and the government had secured several court orders to remove his cattle from public lands.
Defense attorneys apparently plan to portray federal agents assigned to the confiscation effort as excessively militant or aggressive.
The major focus of defense efforts could be the actions of a supervisory agent who defense lawyers believe was in charge of BLM operations at Bunkerville.
A recently released report by the Department of Interior's Office of Inspector General painted an unsavory picture of an unnamed supervisory agent who acted unethically to secure tickets and other benefits for family and friends at the 2015 Burning Man Festival in northern Nevada and later acted unethically to get a friend hired for a BLM position over other more qualified applicants.
It is unknown when Navarro may rule on the defense motions or if she would allow them to be entered into testimony or the court record.
The trial resumes at 8:30 a.m. in Courtroom 7C.
All defendants in the case have been confined to the Henderson Detention Center awaiting trial.
Two subsequent trials are planned after the first concludes. It may take six to 10 weeks, officials estimate.