- Associated Press - Thursday, June 23, 2016

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - A Salt Lake City man who briefly served as Ammon Bundy’s bodyguard during the armed takeover of a national wildlife refuge pleaded guilty Thursday in Portland.

Wesley Kjar, 32, admitted to U.S. District Court Judge Anna J. Brown that he took part in a conspiracy to prevent Interior Department employees from doing their jobs at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in sparsely populated Eastern Oregon.

Though he described the action as an “armed political protest against federal power,” a charge of firearms possession in a federal facility was dismissed in a plea agreement with government prosecutors.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Gabriel said the government will recommend a sentence of six months home detention when Kjar (KAYR) receives his punishment Oct. 28. Kjar relinquished his claim to firearms and ammunition seized by authorities.

Kjar arrived at the refuge Jan. 4, a couple days after Bundy and others took it over while protesting the federal control of Western lands and the imprisonment of two Oregon ranchers convicted of setting fires.

Kjar provided armed personal security for Bundy until he left the refuge Jan. 9. He returned to Utah, where he approached members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about finding a way to end the dispute peacefully.

The occupation dragged on for weeks before the last holdouts surrendered Feb. 11.

Kjar is the fifth member of the occupation to plead guilty in the case. Most of the other 21 defendants, including Bundy, are scheduled to go on trial in September.

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