Nevada Rancher Cliven Bundy Goes on Trial for Leading 2014 Armed Standoff
Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy goes on trial on Monday for his role in leading a 2014 armed standoff against federal agents that became a rallying point for militia groups challenging U.S. government authority in the American West.
Bundy, two of his sons and a third follower are accused of conspiracy, assault, firearms offenses and other charges in the latest of several trials stemming from the confrontation near Bunkerville, Nevada, 75 miles (120 km) northeast of Las Vegas.
The revolt was sparked by the court-ordered roundup of Bundy's cattle by government agents over his refusal to pay fees required to graze the herd on federal land.
Hundreds of supporters, many heavily armed, rallied to Bundy's cause demanding that his livestock be returned. Outnumbered law enforcement officers ultimately retreated rather than risk bloodshed. No shots were ever fired.
The face-off marked a flashpoint in long-simmering tensions over federal control of public lands in the West and a precursor to Bundy's two sons leading an armed six-week occupation of a federal wildlife center in Oregon two years later, in 2016.
Defense lawyers have generally argued that the Bunkerville defendants were exercising constitutionally protected rights to assembly and to bear arms, casting the showdown as a patriotic act of civil disobedience against government overreach.
Prosecutors have said that armed gunmen were using force and intimidation to defy the rule of law.
Jury selection in the latest trial was slated to begin on Monday morning in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas. The proceedings were postponed for three weeks after an unrelated mass shooting in Las Vegas on Oct. 1 in which 58 people were killed.
That's your Land and Livestock Report-I'm Russell Nemetz.