Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibilityBundy, sons finally get their day (more likely months) in court for armed 2014 standoff | KSNV
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Bundy, sons finally get their day (more likely months) in court for 2014 armed standoff

Cliven Bundy #795422.jpg
Cliven Bundy #795422.jpg
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Outspoken. Feisty. Maverick. He is who he is.

Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy and two of his sons -- Ryan and Ammon along with independent militia leader Ryan Payne -- will appear in federal court at 8:30 a.m. Monday as jury selection begins in a long-awaited trial.

The four have been in a federal detention for nearly two years, awaiting earlier trials of others connected to the confrontation. They face potential decades in prison if convicted of conspiracy and other charges related to the 2014 incident.

The trial at the federal courthouse downtown may last until February.

RELATED | Two men involved in Bunkerville armed standoff take plea deal, will likely avoid jail time

It was April 2014 when Bundy and his supporters had a week of confrontations with Bureau of Land Management Rangers and contractors hired by the government to confiscate nearly 1,000 head of his cattle grazing in the Gold Butte area. The government had won two court orders to remove the cattle after Bundy failed to pay grazing fees for some 20 years.

Two previous trials of other defendants ended with several acquittals and just a pair of convictions, leading three defendants to cut plea deals with prosecutors on much lesser charges.

What happens this go-round with 12 new jurors could be anybody's guess.

But the government may push harder on the "domestic terrorist" angle that it did not pursued in earlier trials.

According to the High Country News, prosecutors will be allowed to use limited testimony from an expert in extremism and domestic terrorism, Chief Judge Gloria Navarro ruled.

Defense attorneys for Montana resident Ryan Payne had sought to keep much of the federal agent's testimony out of the case, saying his expertise on militias and terrorism would prejudice the jury.

RELATED | U.S.: Bundy's son tore up a '98 court order that barred family's cattle from Gold Butte

Last month, Payne's attorneys sought to limit the testimony of FBI agent Mark Seyler, including details about his expertise.

Seyler "was routinely tasked with 'domestic terrorism' investigations," and "routinely investigates 'militia' matters," the defense said. "The effect this information will have on the jury is that of believing that this is a domestic terrorism case involving militias."

In earlier trials, prosecutors said they were not trying to prove the defendants were "domestic terrorists." But in a response to Payne's motion, Acting U.S. Attorney Steven Myhre wrote that Seyler's expertise would provide context and credibility to his investigation of Payne, which started in 2013.

"The government will present evidence that Payne was looking for an opportunity to have a forcible confrontation with government agents and that Bundy Ranch provided that opportunity," Myhre said.

Navarro ruled last week, siding in part with the prosecution, ruling that the agent's expertise would be allowed in court. However, she warned prosecutors in her decision "to keep any such testimony brief and limited in order to minimize any prejudice."

It's unknown if Cliven Bundy plans to testify, according to his lawyer, Bret Whipple.

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True to being a maverick, Cliven Bundy plans to appear in court in a prison jumpsuit and flip-flops rather than dress in civilian clothing, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

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