Jury deliberating Bundy protester retrial
The four men on trial for their role in the Bundy standoff, Eric Parker, Steven Stewart, Scott Drexel and Ricky Lovelien now await the jury’s decision.
The defense — consisting of those four men — were essentially only allowed one witness while the prosecution – the federal government — called witnesses for three weeks.
Eric Parker took the stand on Aug. 10 but was called down in the midst of his testimony. He responded to his attorney’s question about where he was looking while lying on a bridge during the April 12, 2014, “standoff” on the Bundy ranch. “Up and to the right,” was his response to the question, said his wife Andrea Olson Parker.
“He couldn’t tell about the snipers he saw,” Olson Parker said. She said that the defense was prevented, by the judge, from talking about the BLM being armed and pointing weapons, from talking about police abusing individuals, essentially from talking about anything except what happened in a 2-hour window on April 12, 2014.
A supporter of the defense, B.J. Soper, on Monday, Aug. 14 was asked to leave the courtroom after watching quietly until the first break. According to his video testimony online he was eventually told that he was ordered to leave by the U.S. marshall but that he did not have to be given a reason why he was asked to leave.
Scott Drexler took the witness stand on Monday and was the only witness allowed to fully testify for the defense. Several witnesses “proffered” the week before, which means their testimony before the judge was recorded but offered to the jury. The defense said the purpose of the proffering was to have the testimony on record for possible appeal later.
On Aug. 15, when they were expected to give closing arguments, and after the prosecution had done so, the defense stated that they would make no closing arguments.
On a video report afterward, Olson Parker explained that she believed this was done in an effort to call attention to the fact that the defense had been unable to provide tesmtimony or evidence in full.
U.S. District Court Judge Navarro had issued a Motion in Limine prior to the start of the trial, ordering no mention of the First or Second Amendment in the defense, as well as no mention of what they percieved as abuse or brutality by federal officers leading up to the Bundy standoff.
The men on trial are considered “mid-level” players in the standoff, as they all were armed, although none fired a weapon. The more active members of the standoff including Cliven Bundy and several of his sons will be tried 30 days following the conclusion of this trial with the same judge.