A federal judge ruled Monday that Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, his two sons and a militia member will not face a retrial on charges that they led an armed rebellion against federal agents in 2014.
Characterizing the conduct of the federal prosecutors in the trial as “outrageous,” Judge Gloria Navarro dismissed the charges against the men “with prejudice,” meaning that they cannot be tried on the counts again.
According to The Arizona Republic, Navarro also said that the prosecutors in the case “violated due process rights” of the defendants.
Navarro ordered Cliven Bundy to be released from prison immediately.
In December, Navarro declared a mistrial in the criminal conspiracy case against Bundy and his sons, stating that federal prosecutors had improperly withheld evidence that could have changed the outcome of the trial.
A new trial had been scheduled for February, but Navarro ruled Monday that a new trial would allow the prosecution an unfair advantage.
Others were charged in the case, with four ranch hands having already been found not guilty of conspiracy, assault of a federal officer and multiple weapons charges in the standoff which was aimed at stopping a government-sanctioned roundup of cattle on federal land.
Bundy faced claims from the Bureau of Land Management that he owed more than $1 million in grazing fees on the land and that he had ignored several court orders to remove his cattle. In response, Bundy said that the government did not have the authority to levy the fees.
Bundy’s effort was backed by armed supporters from across the country who came to defend him and the ranch from law enforcement officers’ attempts to remove the cattle.
Payne reportedly has some “outstanding business” in Oregon, where he will be returned to, so he may be “held accountable for,” according to Bryan Hyde, who reported on the judge’s decision on a Facebook Live video.
For the Bundy family, the long ordeal has finally come to an end.
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