I have sat in the court room about 7 days and given the evidence I heard: Guilty.
Ryan Bundy echoed the statements of his brother Ammon’s attorney, Marcus Mumford, in calling on the jury to be a check on what the Bundys see as federal overreach.
The trial of seven people charged in the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge resumed Wednesday with Ryan Bundy’s closing argument.
Attorneys for defendants Shawna Cox and David Fry followed.
‘Government Is Not Our Master’
Hometown: Cedar City, Utah
Eldest of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy's 14 children. Worked alongside his brother, Ammon Bundy, as a leader of the Malheur occupation.
Bundy, who is representing himself, was passionate and occasionally emotional. He defended all occupiers’ actions at the refuge, his own in Robert “LaVoy” Finicum’s truck during the Jan. 26 traffic stop, and even invoked Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“I ask you to enter a verdict of not guilty on all counts,” Bundy told the jury, “not just for me, but for all of us.”
Bundy argued it is in the government’s interest to put down the occupation because they see it as a threat to power. On Tuesday, Marcus Mumford presented a list of government witnesses, noting the vast majority of them worked for the government in some capacity.
The defense points to this as a flaw in the prosecution’s case.
“They’re all paid to administer power,” Bundy said, later adding, “The people have to insist that the government is not our master; they are our servants.”
Bundy said the occupation had “nothing to do with impeding and preventing the employees of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.”
“We did not know their names … we did not know whose seats we were sitting in,” Bundy said. “And we didn’t care.”
Acknowledging the callousness of his statement, Bundy said their cause was something bigger than taking over a federally-owned bird sanctuary.
Bundy maintained the defendants were nonviolent, despite the presence of firearms throughout the occupation. Bundy, who did not take the witness stand at trial, said though he had a weapon in Finicum’s truck, he only took it out of its holster to put it on the floor in the backseat. In a video of the traffic stop filmed by fellow occupier Shawna Cox, Bundy can be seen holding the weapon.