Excitement in the Courtroom – Malheur 7
by Shari Dovale
Quite a bit of excitement in court today. It began with Judge Anna Brown getting upset with Marcus Mumford, Ammon Bundy’s attorney, for being the last one inside the courtroom this morning. He was not very far behind everyone else, however, Judge Brown decided to threaten him with fines if he was late in the future.
Though testimony had been offered to the jury concerning two guys describing themselves as ‘Navy Seals’ and possibly doing damage to the Malheur Refuge, Judge Brown has ruled that no one else can testify about them because it is ‘irrelevant.’
Another ruling that Judge Brown ruled poorly on was concerning Governor Kate Brown. She stated that the prosecution can stipulate that Gov. Brown received the written “Redress of Grievances” and did not respond to it, but, she will not allow anyone to testify why she did not respond. She claims that the reasons for her non-response are outside the scope of this trial.
The fact is, the reason she did not respond is exactly On Point. The Governor made a statement on January 20th that included, “They asked state officials, including me, to limit responses.” Ammon also testified that the only reason they considered alternate ideas, including taking a hard stand at the Refuge, was solely because they were not getting responses. The FBI was controlling the narrative and pushing the protesters into reactions.
Some of the witnesses today included Dr. Michelle Guyton, a forensic psychologist, discussing her diagnosis of David Fry. She met with him on at least three occasions and diagnosed him with schizotypal personality disorder. She testified that David does not suffer from delusions, however, he did have a premonition that LaVoy Finicum would not survive this protest and David wanted to meet him before anything happened.
Terri Linnell, whom those at the refuge knew as “Momma Bear” testified today. She admitted to being a paid informant for the FBI, in which she was paid $3,000 plus expenses to go to the refuge and report on several people plus any illegal activities. She was very clear that she saw nothing illegal and the FBI could not use any information that she gave them.
Linnell also testified that Shawna Cox did not act in a manner of leadership, merely as an “administrative assistant” keeping things organized. She was asked about reporting on children being at the Refuge during cross examination. Linnell stated that she was concerned because they were not at school.
The prosecution also tried to infer things such as reports that “Sovereigns” were at the refuge. Linnell testified that she was concerned about them wanting to authorize others to become U.S. marshals. The prosecution also said that she reported that she heard people at the refuge taking over another federal facility in Burns. Linnell was confused and said she didn’t know what report they were talking about.
Angela Bundy, Ryan’s wife, took the stand next. Ryan was very choked up and needed a few minutes to compose himself before questioning her. There was a moment of levity for the entire courtroom, including the jury, when Ryan asked Angie if they had been married just shy of 19 years. “Just shy of 18 years” she responded. The laughter that ensued was too much for Judge Brown, “Ladies and Gentlemen, please.”
Angie made it clear that Ryan had not intended to stay later than Monday, January 4th when he came to Burns. She stated that she packed just one change of clothes for him and he had no winter gear. However, Ryan did go home to visit in the middle of January. He was free to come and go, just like everyone else.
Vicky Davis testified about a visit she made to Malheur in which she saw a Refuge employee on site talking with protesters and getting into a US Fish and Wildlife vehicle.
Sheila Dutton, cousin to Shawna Cox, testified to accompanying Shawna to the refuge for the rally, which she called a “walk around the block.” She was clear that Shawna had planned to be home the next day in time for church services.
Janna Lee Tobias was describes as a “Tree Hugger and 2nd Amendment advocate” by Lisa Maxwell, Neil Wampler’s attorney. Tobias testified that she traveled to the refuge to discuss with Ammon the perception of “Ugly Guns” being aggressive. She suggested those at the refuge keep them out of public view.
A most interesting witness was Rodney Cooper. Cooper is Sheriff David Ward’s cousin. He went to Burns specifically to talk to his cousin about being a ‘Constitutional Sheriff.’ He reported that, due to the barricades around the courthouse, he had trouble getting into see Ward.
However, when he did talk to him, Ward was very clear that he never felt threatened by Ammon Bundy or anyone else. Ward told Cooper that he agreed with about 90% of what the Bundy’s were doing and, under other circumstances, he could have been friends with Ammon.
Matthew Deatherage, of Coos Bay, OR, testified on the time he spent at the Refuge. He viewed the Hammonds as “neighbors in need” and described them as being violated by the government. He came to Burns after seeing a video of Ammon saying “Leave your guns at home” and come make a stand.
The prosecution tried to attack Deatherage on cross examination, and Judge Brown let most of it through. All the objections were overruled. The prosecution was most interested in a petition that Matthew had started this week on change.org, attempting to gain support for an impeachment of Judge Anna Brown. Deatherage stood his ground and complained of her bias against the defense and how the Constitution was banned in her courtroom.
This brought a hailstorm of comments throughout the afternoon, including from Ryan Bundy complaining to Judge Brown how she is not allowing the truth to be presented to the jury. “Our very lives are on the line here,” Ryan said. “The truth is being blocked!”
When Ryan stated that “The scales of justice are not balanced” Judge Brown came back with “I’m sorry you don’t agree with the ruling. It is what it is.”
Kenneth Medenbach testified later to his decades-long activism against the Federal land grab. Medenbach got in several details about various aspects, including how the Supreme Court has misinterpreted the property clause in the Constitution. Judge Brown finally had to state to his attorney, Matthew Schindler, that under Rule 403, “I am directing you to avoid this much detail.”
Medenbach made powerful statements on the stand, including “Like the Bundy’s, I have been called by a higher power to do what I am doing.” He also explained of how the Constitution is being ‘perverted by the courts.’
Overall, Kenneth got more information to the jury than anyone expected. I attribute this to the testimony of Matthew Deatherage, and his calling out the Judge for her bias. Happening just before Medenbach took the stand, I think Brown was not on her game and let a few more things slip past her.
All the better for the defense, but the prosecution has now determined they will be presenting a rebuttal case when the defense rests.