Unsealed court documents detail how the team of prosecutors tasked with convicting Cliven Bundy and his sons of crimes relating to a 2014 armed standoff failed to turn over potential exculpatory evidence to the court, The Oregonian reports.
The Bundys’ case ended in a mistrial Dec. 20 after Judge Gloria Navarro ruled that prosecutors violated the civil rights of the defendants by withholding evidence supporting the Bundys’ case. Navarro is considering dismissing the case “with prejudice” and blocking prosecutors from retrying the case. Her decision will come Jan. 8, according to The New York Times.
“There were approximately 3,000 pages that were provided to us only after we started trial,” Bundy lawyer Bret D. Whipple told the NYT. “I personally have never seen anything like this, especially in a case of such importance.”
Those 3,000 pages include the Bundys’ requests for multiple federal assessments that showed the Bundy family was likely not dangerous. Prosecutors called the requests part of a “long list of frivolous and vexatious pleadings,” until a government witness, under cross-examination, revealed knowledge of the assessments in court, The Oregonian reports.
Defense attorney’s asked federal prosecutors to hand over Inspector General reports on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) agent Dan Love, who directed the BLM raid on the Bundy ranch to seize the family’s cattle over decades of unpaid grazing fees. Love was fired from the agency in September for corruption and unethical behavior.
Prosecutors had dismissed the allegations and investigations of Love as an “urban legend,” but ended up handing over 500 pages worth of reports on Love in December, according to The Oregonian.
The Bundys’ lawyers made two requests to Navarro for a special “discovery monitor” to ensure that all relevant documents were being turned over by the prosecution. Both requests were denied. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, however, launched an investigation into prosecutorial misconduct after the mistrial.