Some Malheur Occupation Defendants Already Pleading Guilty Six Weeks Before Conspiracy Trial 

click to enlarge ADAM ROSENLUND
  • Adam Rosenlund

Five months after the conclusion of the 41-day armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife occupation in eastern Oregon, nine of the 26 defendants charged in the militia takeover have pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges, which will be taken up in a month and a half when the first federal trial in the case is slated to begin.

Several Idahoans from Challis, Hailey and Boundary County are among those charged in connection with the occupation, which attracted international headlines and solidarity from controversial rancher Cliven Bundy, already accused of seizing federal lands near his Nevada ranch.

This morning's Oregonian reports federal prosecutors may consider lighter sentences for some defendants if they agree to share information about Cliven Bundy's sons, Ammon and Ryan, who were ringleaders of the Malheur occupation.

The Oregonian reports the Bundys and co-defendants "have lost most of their pretrial court battles," including an effort to suppress private Facebook messages and accounts.  

Meanwhile, the Oregonian asked an Oregon judge on July 22 for a temporary restraining order to keep Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer from deleting his government emails. Attorneys for the newspaper said Palmer had become prominent in the occupation controversy by giving his support to militants. 
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