Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy has a message for Justice Department prosecutors considering an appeal of their high-profile court defeat in the Bunkerville standoff: Enough already.
Mr. Bundy’s attorney, Larry Klayman, fired off a letter last week to Solicitor General Noel Francisco urging him to forego an appeal of U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro’s Jan. 8 decision to dismiss all charges against Mr. Bundy and his sons stemming from the 2014 clash.
“It’s ridiculous. It’s persecution,” said Mr. Klayman, founder of the Freedom Watch and Judicial Watch government watchdog groups.
He blasted the “gross injustice” committed by “rogue Obama-era prosecutors” against Mr. Bundy and sons Ammon and Ryan Bundy. Their conduct is under review by the Office of Professional Responsibility and the Office of the Inspector General.
“After all they have gone through, including unlawful imprisonment for two years, it’s time to allow my clients to go on with their lives and not continue to be persecuted by a Department of ‘Injustice,’ which rather than meting out justice, ‘circles the wagons’ to try to unethically and unlawfully protect its own,” Mr. Klayman said in the Dec. 18 letter.
Trisha Young, spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Nevada, confirmed that the department had submitted in August a protective notice to preserve the government’s right to appeal, but did not say whether the appeal would be filed.
In a stunning defeat for the federal government, Judge Navarro scolded prosecutors with the U.S. attorney’s office in Nevada for committing “flagrant misconduct” by withholding evidence from the defense.
Acting U.S. Attorney Steven Myhre was demoted when Dayle Elieson was appointed to replace him shortly after Judge Navarro declared a mistrial in December, a precursor to her decision to drop the felony conspiracy and weapons charges.
Mr. Myhre has since been downgraded from first assistant U.S. attorney to senior litigation counsel, according to The Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Mr. Klayman, a former federal prosecutor, said he worried the office will seek to “take the monkey off the back” of the federal legal team by taking their case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
“If I wait and do nothing, and then the appeal goes forward, then it’s too late. The injustice is done just on the basis of having to go through this again,” said Mr. Klayman. “And it’s the 9th Circuit. God knows what could happen there.”
The Bundys and a crowd of supporters engaged in an armed standoff with Bureau of Land Management agents in Bunkerville, Nevada, after they attempted to impound the family’s cattle in a longstanding dispute over grazing fees.
In October, Ryan Bundy filed a lawsuit against Justice Department and FBI officials alleging “malicious prosecution,” citing a BLM investigator who said in a memo that agents showed “clear prejudice” against his family by, for example, calling them “rednecks” and mocking their Mormon faith.