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Tag: wildlife refuge

Occupiers of Oregon Wildlife Refuge Found Not Guilty in Jury Trial

Burns, Oregon, where the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is located.

Burns, Oregon, where the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is located.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The trial involving seven people who participated in the armed occupation of a wildlife refuge in Oregon ended Thursday with each defendant found not guilty of federal conspiracy charges.

Judge Anna Brown announced that the defendants – the standoff’s leader, Ammon Bundy, his brother Ryan and five others – were not guilty of conspiracy to impede federal officers and not guilty of possession of firearms in a federal facility, the Washington Post reports. 

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, expressed disappointment over the jury’s decision.

“The occupation of the Malheur Refuge by outsiders did not reflect the Oregon way of respectfully working together to resolve differences,” Brown said in a statement Thursday.

Defendant Shawna Cox said the acquittal was a victory for the Constitution.

“We have to be vigilant people,” she told reporters. “Wake up, America, and help us restore the Constitution. Don’t sleep with your head in the sand.”

Grand Jury Reviews Case of Possible FBI Misconduct During Wildlife Refuge Standoff

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents are facing potential charges over their handling of the Oregon wildlife refuge standoff.

Investigators have taken the case to a grand jury, alleging that an agent fired a gunshot at Robert “LaVoy” Finicum and that the FBI tampered with evidence at the scene, the Oregonian reports. 

Defense lawyers for the protesters have asked a judge to order the release of investigative records involving the FBI’s alleged misconduct.

The occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge last 41 days and led to numerous charges against the protesters.

Attorney Questions FBI Interrogation of Final Holdout in Wildlife Refuge Occupation

David Fry

David Fry

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

David Fry, one of the final holdouts in the 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, was questioned by the FBI despite his court-appointed attorney objecting to an interrogation.

The Oregonian reports that Fry’s attorney Per C. Olson has asked for all communication between prosecutors and law enforcement involved in the arrest, detention and questioning of Fry.

Fry was one of the last holdouts to surrender to the FBI.

“It will be defendant’s contention that the government should not have taken unfair advantage of the trust defendant had placed in the agents in his vulnerable state of mind by interrogating him in disregard of his counsel’s invocations,” Olson wrote in a motion filed in U.S. District Court.

FBI Under Investigation After Agents Shot at Wildlife Occupier But Never Reported It

Scene at federal wildlife refuge six weeks ago.

Scene at federal wildlife refuge six weeks ago.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents are under investigation after it was discovered they fired shots at LaVoy Finicum at the federal wildlife refuge and never reported it.

Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson said the two bullets fired by the FBI did not strike Finicum, who was shot three times by state troopers and killed about six weeks ago, Washington Post reports. 

State police were justified in the fatal shooting, but Nelson said the FBI agents “did not disclose their shots to investigators, nor did they disclose specific actions they took after the shooting.”

The sheriff’s office and the Justice Department’s inspector general are investigating the FBI’s involvement.

The FBI did not comment.

FBI Completes Search of Federal Wildlife Refuge for Evidence in Occupation Case

Burns, Oregon

Burns, Oregon

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has swept the Oregon wildlife refuge for evidence following the long standoff with occupiers and has turned over the site to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Federal prosecutors said the FBI is finished processing the crime scenes at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Now defense lawyers have an opportunity to visit the refuge between noon Thursday and 5 p.m. Friday, but they will be escorted by federal officers.

This will give defense lawyers and their investigators a chance to photos or videos.

Once the visit is complete, the federal government “will begin the process of restoring” the wildlife refuge so that it can open to the public, the Oregonian reports.

Defense lawyers filed a joint motion Friday to prevent the FBI from sweeping the site until investigators can monitor the activity of federal law enforcement.

Ammon Bundy’s lawyers argued, “The problem in this unique case is that the Government will not know what evidence at the scene is specifically favorable to Mr. Bundy as opposed to another co-defendant.”

The FBI aid Tuesday that agents swept the site to ensure no one was still there and searched the site for bombs.

The occupation of the wildlife refuge ended relatively peacefully after 41 days.

FBI Discovers Trench of Human Feces at Occupation Site of Oregon Wildlife Refuge

fbi logo largeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Oregon wildlife refuge that was taken over by armed occupiers is a stinky mess, the FBI has discovered.

Agents said the occupiers may have damaged a sensitive cultural site with artifacts because they built a trench for human feces and excavated a road at the refuge, Reuters reports.

The discovery came Saturday while investigators began processing what has become a crime scene at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

The 41-day siege ended Thursday with the arrest of the final four occupiers.

“Occupiers appear to have excavated two large trenches and an improvised road on or adjacent to grounds containing sensitive artifacts,” U.S. Attorney Billy Williams of Oregon wrote in the filing.

Investigators also found guns and explosives.

FBI Expects to Collect Evidence at Oregon Wildlife Refuge for Several Weeks

Burns, Oregon

Burns, Oregon

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Now that the 41-day standoff is over at the Oregon wildlife refuge, the FBI is sorting through evidence at the scene as the town of Burns is eager for life to return to normal.

The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge has turned into a crime scene at a time when land managers must prepare to open the 300-square-mile area that attracts hunters, birdwatchers and anglers, the Associated Press reports. 

The FBI expects to spend the next several weeks collecting evidence and clearing the crime scene. After that, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will being cleaning the site to prepare for the busy summer season.

“People need to heal,” said Linda Gainer, owner of The Narrows restaurant and RV park, which is just a few miles from the refuge. “I didn’t have any people say, ‘I’ll never be your friend again.’ But we did have crappy emails. I’m hoping the birders come back.”

Remaining Occupiers of Oregon Wildlife Refuge Taunt FBI in Videos

By Steve Neavling
Motor City Muckraker

The five-week standoff at an Oregon wildlife refuge took a bizarre turn after one of the four remaining occupier released a video taunting the FBI.

In one video, David Fry, a 27-year-old dental assistant from Cincinnati takes a joy ride in a U.S. government vehicle, challenging the feds to charge him with theft, The Washington Post reports. 

“You see this? It’s a U.S. government vehicle,” he says, filming himself getting into a pickup truck with federal plates. “I think I want to take it on a little joy ride. You know? Yeah. Let’s start this baby up. Now you’ve got another charge on me, FBI. I am driving your vehicle.”

In another video, husband-and-wife due, Sean and Sandy Anderson, claim they are “hostages” for missing a deadline to leave the refuge unscathed.

“Here we sit as hostages because we didn’t hear about a deal that everyone else got to leave,” Sean Anderson says in the video. “They either let us go, drop all charges because we’re good people, or they come in and kill us. How’s that going to sit with America?”