Judge Makes Stunning Ruling In Bundy Case

July 20, 2016 in News by RBN Staff

Clive Bundy Judge rules secret

“… the government wants to prosecute him in secret …”

Source: Western Journalism | By Scott Mason

The Las Vegas Review Journal reports that without the benefit of a public hearing, U.S. Federal Judge Peggy Leen has issued an order ruling that no transcripts, reports or witness statements of any kind may be disclosed by defense teams for all 19 defendants in the 2014 armed standoff between Cliven Bundy’s camp and the FBI.

Leen made her decision Friday, citing potential death threats against prosecutors as justification.

“The government has made a sufficient threshold showing of actual and potential threats, intimidation and harassment to victims, witnesses and law enforcement officers to show good cause for a protective order restricting dissemination of pretrial discovery,” she wrote.

Leen continued saying that a “common law or First Amendment right” for the press and the public to access the government’s pretrial evidence does not exist, though all information obtained through “open sources” such as the internet or social media would be accessible.

Ammon Bundy’s attorney, Dan Hill, was not pleased with the judge’s decision.

“It”s unfortunate that so much information is going to be kept from the public in this case. Ammon Bundy has never hidden anything and now the government wants to prosecute him in secret. I will continue to fight for justice in this case despite the government’s effort to keep information hidden,” he said.

Chris Rasmussen, the attorney for defendant Pete Santilli, shared Hill’s opinion and says he plans to file an appeal on behalf of his client.

“He wants this trial to be open to the public, and he wants the public to see all of the evidence so that he can prove his innocence,” he said.

Maggie McLetchie — an attorney who represents the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Battle Born Media and The Associated Press — said she was disappointed with the judge’s decision.

“From the media’s perspective, the order still cloaks much of the information about this case in secrecy despite the heightened need for transparency the judge recognized when allowing the media to intervene,” McLetchie said. “It is deeply troubling that so many documents will be automatically hidden from public view.”

The trial is currently set for Feb. 6 in U.S. District Court.

h/t: Las Vegas Review Journal