- Associated Press - Monday, December 12, 2016

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - An Arizona man is the latest Oregon standoff figure to ask for his guilty plea to be withdrawn.

Joseph O’Shaughnessy pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge nearly three months before a jury acquitted seven of his co-defendants, including standoff leaders Ammon Bundy.

O’Shaughnessy is awaiting a February trial on accusations stemming from a 2014 standoff with federal agents at a Nevada ranch owned by Ammon Bundy’s father, Cliven Bundy,

Defense attorney Tony Schwartz said O’Shaughnessy had a plea deal in Nevada, but it was contingent on him pleading guilty in Oregon. Because the Nevada plea offer fell apart, his client should be able to withdraw his Oregon plea.

“As the idiom goes: what is good for the goose is good for the gander,” Schwartz wrote in a motion filed Sunday. “If the Nevada prosecutors can press forward with trial, then Mr. O’Shaughnessy should be allowed to defend his Oregon case in trial.”

When he pleaded guilty Aug. 1 in Portland, O’Shaughnessy said he didn’t participate in the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, but felt a duty to provide security for those protesting federal control of public lands and the imprisonment of two Oregon ranchers.

Two of the other 10 defendants who pleaded guilty - Ryan Payne and Eric Flores - have sought to withdraw their pleas. U.S. District Judge Anna Brown has yet to rule on their requests or schedule hearings.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Gabriel urged Brown to reject Payne’s request, saying the man knew his fellow occupiers were proceeding to trial and an acquittal was possible. Gabriel said the government is in talks with a lawyer for Flores, who was a much lesser figure in the standoff than Payne.

The government has yet to respond to O’Shaughnessy’s motion.

In addition to the breakdown of the Nevada plea deal, Schwartz pointed to new information discovered after O’Shaughnessy’s Aug. 1 change of plea, such as the extent to which the government used confidential informants.

He specifically mentions Fabio Minoggio, who went by the name John Killman at the refuge and provided reports to the government that contradicted O’Shaughnessy’s assertion that a tent set up at an RV park was for the purpose of providing medical help.

“It was only during the trial of the first group of defendants that this informant disclosed that he was provided with ‘expenses’ for his trip to Oregon and given a bullet proof vest by the federal government for his assistance,” Schwartz wrote.

Prosecutors in Nevada have described O’Shaughnessy as a midlevel organizer of the confrontation at Cliven Bundy’s ranch. The defendants there are accused of conspiring to assault federal officials who were rounding up Bundy’s cattle over unpaid grazing fees.

O’Shaughnessy believes the case against him in Nevada is weak, Schwartz wrote.

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