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Feds dismiss conspiracy case against Oregon standoff defendant Pete Santilli on eve of trial

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posted on Sep, 7 2016 @ 10:03 AM
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Feds dismiss conspiracy case against Oregon standoff defendant Pete Santilli on eve of trial


In a motion filed late Tuesday afternoon, federal prosecutors urged the court to dismiss the indictment, citing U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown's ruling last week that limited the evidence they could present against Santelli.

For example, the judge ruled, prosecutors cannot present evidence of Santilli haranguing counter-protesters at the refuge or badgering traditional news media in an attempt to dispute Santilli's defense that he was simply acting as a member of the press documenting the refuge takeover.

"Based upon this Court's pretrial evidentiary rulings excluding evidence against Santilli, the government has decided that the interests of justice do not support further pursuit of these charges against Santilli,'' according to a motion signed by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ethan Knight, Craig Gabriel and Geoffrey Barrow.

Note that only the Oregon charges have been dismissed; Santilli still faces charges -- more serious charges -- in Nevada:


He is accused of conspiring to assault federal officers, threatening officers, obstructing justice, extorting officers, and using and brandishing a firearm in relation to a crime of violence stemming from the armed standoff outside the Bundy ranch near Bunkerville.
The government alleges Santilli recruited gunmen to the ranch, helped lead an assault on U.S. Bureau of Land Management officers trying to roundup cattle on federal land, conducted reconnaissance of hotels where federal officers were staying and delivered an ultimatum to the land bureau's agent in charge to leave the impound site.

I really didn't expect any of them to go to trial. I expected plea deals. But it would seem I was wrong:

Jury selection starts Wednesday in the trial of Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy and six others involved in the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, a federal bird sanctuary in sparsely populated southeast Oregon


Jury selection starts Wednesday in the case against Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy and others who helped seize Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Jan. 2. They are charged with conspiring to prevent federal employees from doing their jobs. Several others were indicted, and many have pleaded guilty.

The above link is actually a pretty good -- albeit brief -- summary of the Oregon Standoff situation -- who, what, when, where, why and how. The following link is a little more in depth:

What to know before the Oregon occupation trial begins


Nineteen people have been indicted in the Nevada standoff and most are set to be tried for that incident on February 2. Of the others facing charges for the Oregon standoff, 11 have taken plea deals so far and another seven are scheduled to stand trial Feb. 14, 2017. A 27th occupier, Robert “LaVoy” Finnicum, was shot and killed by Oregon State Police during the occupation.

Those who took plea deals have either agreed to or will likely face between six months of home detention and 3 ½ years in prison. The Bundys and others facing trial say they are unwilling to plea for a lesser sentence.

So the Bundys "and others facing trial" are standing on principle. Good for them. I hope and pray they don't regret it; and apparently -- at least so far -- Ammon has no regrets:


“I can honestly say that yes it was worth it,” Ammon Bundy said in a jailhouse interview with KGW. “They’re trying to stop people from exercising their free speech and First Amendment rights.”

And the following is the judge's ruling on various pre-trial motions from all parties. I haven't read the entire ruling yet -- 26 pages! -- but what I've read so far deals mostly with admissible and inadmissible evidence. I can't really comment too much until I've read it a couple times and pondered it all... I'm just posting it here for others who would like to read it for themselves.

Judge Brown's Pre-Trial Rulings

From what I've read elsewhere, the judge has not yet issued a final ruling on evidence taken under subpoena/search warrant from their Facebook pages; but the judge is not happy with the Feds and is demanding answers:


A federal judge on Tuesday ordered prosecutors to provide an accurate, chronological accounting of who did what with privileged, raw Facebook account data belonging to 10 Oregon standoff defendants that should have been sealed but ended up being shared with all co-defendants.... [snip]... Brown also will allow the defense to reopen its motion to suppress the Facebook material. She struck her previous ruling that dismissed the motion, saying it was based on "inaccurate information provided by the government.''

Source: Oregon standoff prosecutors ordered to provide details about improper Facebook data sharing

So here we go folks... let the fireworks begin!




posted on Sep, 7 2016 @ 10:24 AM
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a reply to: Boadicea

Seems like they're (the feds) are trying to drag this out as long as possible with the trial expecting to last months

Hard to think it's been 8 months since it all began

Has there been much news on the feds being investigated for their murder of Lavoy ?



posted on Sep, 7 2016 @ 10:24 AM
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a reply to: Boadicea

I'll be following the trial - some of the details will be left out of public knowledge (of course), but I sure would love to be in that courtroom to hear how it all goes down



posted on Sep, 7 2016 @ 10:34 AM
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originally posted by: Discotech
a reply to: Boadicea

Seems like they're (the feds) are trying to drag this out as long as possible with the trial expecting to last months


Sure seems that way! I still wouldn't be surprised to hear that these charges have been dropped as well. If so, I expect the Feds will cite "inadmissible" evidence again, probably related to the "armed takeover" conspiracy. As one legal eagle explained to me, the Feds have to prove that the Bundys intended to use lethal force (guns) against the employees at the refuge. Their problem is that the Feds have also said that the Bundys et al knew the refuge would be closed and no employees would be present, which directly contradicts the premise that they intended to take the refuge by force.

But I'm not sure about all that -- so take it with a grain of salt (and a shot of tequila!) I'm hoping the judge's ruling will give me more insight into all that.


Hard to think it's been 8 months since it all began


For us, yes, but it's probably felt like eternal hell to the families...


Has there been much news on the feds being investigated for their murder of Lavoy ?


I have seen/found pretty much nothing. I know there is a civil trial filed by the family (wrongful death) pending, and I'm assuming the family is staying quiet in order not to tip their hand... and the Feds are no doubt desperate to keep their own bad behavior quiet. But I haven't found anything further about the investigation into the FBI agents who fired as Lavoy Finicum was approaching and stopping at the deadman's roadblock.



posted on Sep, 7 2016 @ 10:38 AM
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But what about the ambush and murder of LaVoy Finnicum?

Who is going to charge the murdering government of a peaceful American citizen?



posted on Sep, 7 2016 @ 10:39 AM
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originally posted by: FamCore
a reply to: Boadicea

I'll be following the trial - some of the details will be left out of public knowledge (of course), but I sure would love to be in that courtroom to hear how it all goes down


Of course! I'll be following it as best I can too.

I found it interesting (and suspicious) that the Feds requested and then retracted a request for a live feed of the trial for the "victimized" Fed employees at the refuge. I know those "victims" are also witnesses, and I didn't think witnesses were allowed to watch court proceedings prior to their testimony. The judge was ready to grant the request too until the Feds pulled it. I don't know what to make of that.

Prosecutors withdraw motion for live feed of Bundy trial for fed employees in Burns



posted on Sep, 7 2016 @ 10:41 AM
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originally posted by: imitator
But what about the ambush and murder of LaVoy Finnicum?

Who is going to charge the murdering government of a peaceful American citizen?


At this point, I'm afraid our only hope for any kind of justice for Lavoy is going to be the wrongful death civil trial brought by the Finicum family.... unfortunately, it's all monopoly money to the guilty.



posted on Sep, 7 2016 @ 10:54 AM
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a reply to: Boadicea


For example, the judge ruled, prosecutors cannot present evidence of Santilli haranguing counter-protesters at the refuge or badgering traditional news media...

Yah, theres no law against free speech, just 'policy'.



posted on Sep, 7 2016 @ 11:00 AM
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a reply to: intrptr

Exactly. The Feds are just using their usual bully and intimidation tactics to make an example of anyone who dares to defy them. It seems they didn't expect these folks to be so stubborn and ornery!



posted on Sep, 7 2016 @ 11:08 AM
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a reply to: Boadicea

That'll teach them to be activists. I imagine the arrest, incarceration, charges, lawyer fees, whatever for protesting are heavy enough.

"We don't need to punish this one any further. Case dismissed."



posted on Sep, 7 2016 @ 11:20 AM
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originally posted by: intrptr
a reply to: Boadicea

That'll teach them to be activists. I imagine the arrest, incarceration, charges, lawyer fees, whatever for protesting are heavy enough.

"We don't need to punish this one any further. Case dismissed."


Yup. Those pretty pieces of paper printed by the Feds are a weapon yielded by government.

Unless one has deep pockets -- or friends with deep pockets -- protest becomes impossible for the average guy. Enter George Soros...



posted on Sep, 7 2016 @ 11:44 AM
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I remember some talk about Santilli being an informant.

Stands to reason they would let him off !!




posted on Sep, 7 2016 @ 11:51 AM
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a reply to: xuenchen

D'oh!!! I remember that now that you mention it... I was never sure whether to believe it or not. Same kind of talk about the driver of the vehicle Ammon Bundy was in (which I do believe), and Ammon himself. I had to wonder if it was an effort by the Feds to sow the seeds of distrust and therefore division among the defendants.

Something to consider and keep in mind. Thanks!



posted on Sep, 7 2016 @ 10:38 PM
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a reply to: Boadicea
Thanks for the update thread.

Sounds like the judge is annoyed.



Brown also will allow the defense to reopen its motion to suppress the Facebook material. She struck her previous ruling that dismissed the motion, saying it was based on "inaccurate information provided by the government.''

Is this her polite judgely manner of saying the government was lying? Oh, the horror...



posted on Sep, 8 2016 @ 08:23 AM
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a reply to: diggindirt


Is this her polite judgely manner of saying the government was lying? Oh, the horror...


I do believe it is.

One of the filings by Ammon Bundy asked for information on the grand jury indictment. I've been wondering if the grand jury indictment was based on any of the evidence from Facebook...

Is it possible for them to have all charges dropped if the evidence by which they were indicted is now ruled inadmissible?



posted on Sep, 8 2016 @ 02:13 PM
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a reply to: Boadicea
Yes indeed. It happens frequently if the judge catches law enforcement not abiding by the law. A recent case in our region went that very way.

www.westkentuckystar.com...

Even though this was a marijuana case, the officers violated the law and the judge sniffed that out. Information obtained illegally cannot be presented in court. Additionally, those officers opened up an avenue of recourse by the defendants. They can now sue the state for false arrest and recover their costs in defending themselves.

This is why having judges who actually know and believe in the law is so very important. Those scales of justice must not be pre-balanced to either side.



posted on Sep, 8 2016 @ 03:15 PM
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a reply to: diggindirt


Yes indeed. It happens frequently if the judge catches law enforcement not abiding by the law.


Good!!! I thought that was the case, but lately with up being down and backwards called forwards, I just never know what to believe any more.

May I ask another question? (If you know...)

As I understand it, the Feds are trying to make the case that they intended to use force (firearms) to take the refuge. But they have also made the case that based on previous scouting of the area, they knew the refuge would be closed and no employees present when they occupied it. Which, of course, contradicts any assertion they intended to take it by force. If this is true, would it then be up to the jury to decide which is true and decide accordingly? Or is this something the judge could decide? And if it's up to the judge, would it have to be via a motion filed by defense? Or could she make such a ruling of her own volition and dismiss the charges?

My only frame of reference is that here in Arizona, after closing arguments in a criminal case, the judge must look at all the evidence presented and determine if the prosecution made their case... at which time, if the judge so decides, the judge has the power to dismiss the charges (before going to the jury for a verdict).

The devil's always in the details, ain't it?



posted on Sep, 8 2016 @ 08:11 PM
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a reply to: diggindirt

This is interesting... apparently jury nullification became an issue:


The judge questioned the panel on whether they would follow the law even if they felt "pangs of conscience" and might not agree with it. She asked whether anyone had been handed a brochure about jury nullification outside the courthouse. One man said he had, but he didn't take it.

Judge excludes 11 of 31 potential jurors for Oregon standoff trial in first day of questioning

And according to a tweet at #oregonstandoff, Trump wants to meet with all the "patriots that were at the Bundy Ranch stand off and the Malheur refuge sometime the end of September." Lots of interesting comments at the link.

Some of the comments seem to back up what's in this:

Judge Brown Stacking the Deck Against the Bundys

But check out the comment from "Cal" at 11:46 on August 29 on jury nullification... that's a keeper



posted on Sep, 8 2016 @ 10:57 PM
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a reply to: Boadicea
I don't know the rules of the federal court system well enough to know the answer to your question. In state court, it can go either way but the judge is usually informed by the two sides only. In this case the defense would bring a motion forth with evidence attached. If they have sworn statements from refuge employees (it has been reported that they do) saying that the take-over was not planned by the Bundy bunch but was instigated by locals who had been in contact with refuge employees who told them the place was deserted and told them where to find the keys, those statements would be attached to the motion to dismiss. IF she feels it is reasonably clear that those charges are bogus, she could dismiss in order to save the court time and money. But she's being very careful I'm sure because any move she makes against the prosecutors will likely be appealed since they have unlimited funding for their job. Local and state prosecutors have budgets for which they must answer to local voters. If they go prosecuting wild, crazy charges like these, they'll be voted out. Feds have little restraint on their prosecutions I'm told. I've had multiple, lengthy conversations with prosecutors, former prosecutors and judges about this case and they all say the same thing---it's bogus. The only person killed was killed by the Feds. The only people threatened were the protestors. The videos showed that all the relations were civil and cordial until the LEOs laid a trap. The only possible charges that might stick would be some form of criminal trespass.
But as in all trials, they must depend on the jury. In today's world---that would scare the bejesus out of me. It scared the crap out of me when I served on a federal jury and saw how little care the other jurors had for justice. They just wanted to get out of the courthouse.



posted on Sep, 8 2016 @ 11:21 PM
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a reply to: Boadicea
Ah, the rules of the Black Robed Tribe! The founders believed it was our duty to use jury nullification. Her actions in excluding those who believe the same as the founders might be grounds for appeal---in a just world.
The fellow who got busted for handing out the material has done a good deed just by getting it into the spotlight.




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