Last week, I told you that February 6, 2019, Federal Prosecutors appealed U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro’s January 8, 2018 dismissal of the case against Cliven Bundy and three other defendants, citing the prosecutors’ “flagrant misconduct.”
As I reported in my book, Cliven Bundy: American Patriot, in her mistrial ruling the month before her dismissal of the case, Judge Navarro:
listed six types of evidence that she said prosecutors deliberately withheld before trial, including information about the presence of an FBI surveillance camera on a hill overlooking the Bundy ranch and information concerning issues outside the ranch, maps, an FBI log with entries about snipers, threat assessments that indicated the Bundys were not violent, and that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was trying to provoke a conflict by antagonizing the Bundys and their supporters.
She also said: “The failure to turn over such evidence violates due process” – and further, she pinned the misconduct on both the prosecution and the investigating agencies.
In the appeal, Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth White asserted that the government’s failure to provide these documents was only the result of: “simple inadvertence” or because prosecutors “weren’t aware they existed or couldn’t find them” or they “didn’t think they were relevant to the defendants’ case.”[i]
This appeal refers to “a handful of documents.” But a deeper dive into the documents in contention actually strengthen the defense’s – not the prosecutor’s – arguments in the Bundy case. In other words, it’s not their number – it’s their content that is important.
For example, the appeal referenced “certain maps produced in December 2017” but in fact, this term “maps” is highly misleading, concealing the actual request for much more than just geographical charts. During the trial, the defense wanted access to any maps or organizational charts the government used for deployment planning. These plans were not delivered – or the government actually denied their existence(!) – until the last minute. The prosecution tried to lump in such planning charts under the generic term “maps” to lessen their impact.
I note in my book that during the trial,
Judge Navarro’s concern was that the organizational chart that was created to explain the communication and reporting authority between the BLM, and all the other agencies deployed there was missing, along with all the maps showing the agents’ deployment locations, the paperwork, and handwritten materials. This was all probably destroyed in the shredder in an effort to cover-up the magnitude of what was involved.
Another of the appeal’s “handful of documents” relates to a BLM Internal Affairs report about the Mojave Desert Tortoise habitat. But the week before the trial, there was an evidentiary hearing that produced a myriad of questions because of claims from the prosecution that certain documents didn’t exist or certain events didn’t happen. For example, the government said there was never any report even generated about the tortoise habitat and the effect cattle grazing had on them. Yet this phantom report was used by the government as an argument to justify removing Cliven’s cattle from the land.
In Cliven Bundy: American Patriot, I addressed this government duplicity by referring back to the trial testimony of Mary Jo Rugwell, the first witness for the prosecution, describing the impression she made as “an aging bureaucrat, who had trouble making her way to the witness stand:”
Rugwell was the BLM’s district manager for Southern Nevada from April 2008 through August 2012. She testified in regard to Cliven Bundy’s “continuous trespass” and how he refused to get a new 10-year permit in 1993 for his Bunkerville allotment of 154,000 acres. She admitted the fact BLM had changed the permit rules when it was determined that the desert tortoise was a threatened species. She claimed cattle were a danger to recreational areas, damaging vegetation and cultural resources. (emphasis added)
These willfully withheld documents are just two of six cited in the appeal which underlie the six reasons the judge dismissed the case. Clearly, the government’s failure to turn them over was an intentional cover-up to protect the prosecution’s – and weaken the defense’s – trial arguments. Both the media and prosecution gloss over these facts and claim that the documents were not turned over “due to a mistake.” They rely on the “mistake” argument in their appeal to the 9th circuit in their effort to reverse Judge Navarro’s January 2018 decision. Some mistake.
Next time, we’ll examine the rest of these documents cited in the prosecutors’ appeal to the 9th Circuit Court. Stay tuned…
But there is much more to this story of Cliven Bundy…so stay tuned.
Learn more about Cliven Bundy: American Terrorist Patriot or get your book copy here.
About Michael Stickler
Mike is an author, radio host, ex-felon, and a highly sought after motivational speaker. His best-selling book, A Journey to Generosity, is widely acclaimed throughout the Christian community. He is the publisher of Generous Living Magazine and writes for the Christian Post, 'A Generous Life' column. (MikeStickler.com)