It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
A federal judge has dismissed the charge of using and carrying firearms in the course of a crime of violence against Ammon Bundy and seven co-defendants, finding the underlying conspiracy charge doesn't meet the legal definition of a "crime of violence.''
Defense lawyer Per C. Olson had argued in legal briefs and oral arguments for dismissal of Count 3 on behalf of his client, David Fry, and the others charged.
Olson told the court that the government wrongly applied a definition of "intimidation'' from a federal bank robbery charge to the conspiracy charge. He argued that prosecutors can't "lift a definition'' from another statute and "shoehorn it'' into this charge without any case law to base it on.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan Knight had conceded in a hearing that Count 3 presented "a close call'' for the court.
U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown issued a 16-page written ruling Friday afternoon, finding that the umbrella charge of conspiring to impede federal officers from doing their work at the refuge through "intimidation, threats or force'' doesn't necessarily mean that the conspiracy must involve the "threatened use of physical force'' against a person or property.
She noted that the word "intimidation,'' for example, could apply to threats of nonviolent harm to property.
Further, a "threat'' under the conspiracy allegation could involve the blackmailing of a federal officer to prevent the federal officer from doing his or her federal duties -- a threat that doesn't necessarily require "threatened use of physical force,'' the judge wrote.
So, if the underlying conspiracy charge isn't restricted to a "crime of violence'' but encompasses a "broader swath'' of conduct, then the count that charged eight refuge occupiers with using or carrying firearms in the course of "a crime of violence" should be thrown out, the judge ruled.
(a) Whoever, by force and violence, or by intimidation, takes, or attempts to take, from the person or presence of another, or obtains or attempts to obtain by extortion any property or money or any other thing of value belonging to, or in the care, custody, control, management, or possession of, any bank, credit union, or any savings and loan association; or
If two or more persons in any State, Territory, Possession, or District conspire to prevent, by force, intimidation, or threat, any person from accepting or holding any office, trust, or place of confidence under the United States, or from discharging any duties thereof, or to induce by like means any officer of the United States to leave the place, where his duties as an officer are required to be performed, or to injure him in his person or property on account of his lawful discharge of the duties of his office, or while engaged in the lawful discharge thereof, or to injure his property so as to molest, interrupt, hinder, or impede him in the discharge of his official duties, each of such persons shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six years, or both.