- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - A federal judge Wednesday rejected Ryan Bundy’s demand to be released from custody so he can appear before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy has been serving as his own lawyer since his January arrest during the armed occupation of an Oregon bird sanctuary. He’s also facing federal charges in Nevada for his role in an armed standoff with federal agents at this father’s ranch.

Bundy and lawyers for other defendants charged in both cases have said it’s improper to make them defend two cases at once in different states.

The Appeals Court plans to hear oral arguments Thursday in San Francisco, and Bundy wants to be there.

But U.S. District Court Judge Anna J. Brown denied his request for transfer or release, saying it’s not her call and it should have been brought up sooner.

“I’m not a magician,” she said.

Bundy was attempting to have a different federal judge, Robert Jones, hear the matter Wednesday afternoon, but nothing was on the docket as the courthouse neared closing time.

Jones, to ease the load on Brown, has been hearing requests for pretrial release from the more than 20 defendants charged in connection with the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Brown’s denial came during a status hearing on the complex, high-profile case that began with a protest over the imprisonment of two Oregon ranchers convicted of setting fires. Much of the 2 ½-hour hearing was devoted to questions about pre-trial motions and discovery.

Twenty-six men and women were charged with conspiracy to impede officers of the United States after the 41-day standoff, and some of them were also charged with possessing a firearm in a federal facility.

Three men have pleaded guilty and a fourth, Jason Blomgren, was scheduled to so Thursday.

Trial for most the other 22 defendants is scheduled to start Sept. 7, though a few of the accused have waived their right to a speedy trial and likely won’t face a jury until 2017.

Marcus Mumford, the new attorney for occupation leader Ammon Bundy, suggested to Judge Brown during the hearing that his client might also waive his demand for a speedy trial.

Also Wednesday:

- Defendant Darryl Thorn of Marysville, Washington, arrived at court Wednesday with plans to accept a plea deal from prosecutors. Instead, he withdrew from the agreement and asked a judge for a new public defender. The judge, after a private meeting with the Thorn and the lawyer, confirmed an “irreparable breakdown” in the relationship and said Thorn would get new representation.

- Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan Knight told the judge he expects prosecutors will take three or four weeks to present their case to the jury, meaning the trial will likely last well into October and perhaps November.

- Defendant Kenneth Medenbach, as he has repeatedly done, questioned Brown about whether she ever took an oath of office. She replied, “Mr. Medenbach, we’re not going to play these games.”


Follow Steven DuBois at twitter.com/pdxdub

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