PORTLAND, Ore. — A federal judge will consider Tuesday whether the leader of an armed group that took over a national wildlife refuge should remain in jail, while four holdouts drag out the standoff that began a month ago and has roiled a rural community in eastern Oregon.
Lawyers for Ammon Bundy say he should be allowed to go back home to Idaho with a GPS monitoring device and with orders that he not leave the state except for court appearances. Government prosecutors failed to provide "clear and convincing evidence" those steps would not suffice, Mike Arnold and Lissa Casey said in court documents.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie Beckerman said last week that Bundy, 40, presents a danger to the community and he might fail to return for future court proceedings. Beckerman said Bundy repeatedly ignored federal demands to leave the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and she had little confidence he would comply with orders to show up in court.
U.S. District Court Judge Michael W. Mosman is expected to consider whether to free Bundy and two other members of the armed occupation, Joseph O'Shaughnessy and Peter Santilli, ahead of their trials. A detention hearing also is scheduled for Tuesday in Phoenix for Jon Eric Ritzheimer, a suburban Phoenix resident.
They are among 11 people arrested in connection with the standoff that began Jan. 2, when the group called federal land restrictions burdensome and demanded the government turn over public lands to local control.
They face a felony conspiracy charge of using intimidation to prevent federal employees from their work at the refuge. Only one of those charged, Shawna Cox, has left jail.
Bundy was arrested Jan. 26 during a traffic stop, where police shot and killed Arizona rancher Robert "LaVoy" Finicum during a confrontation.
Since his arrest, Bundy has repeatedly urged the four people remaining at the refuge, which is surrounded by authorities, to go home. Hundreds of people gathered Monday outside the courthouse in nearby Burns both to protest and support the occupation.
The rallies came the same day Bundy's father, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, sent a certified letter to the local sheriff saying all federal and state police should be removed from the area and the refuge should be placed under local control. The elder Bundy was involved in a high-profile 2014 standoff with the government over grazing rights.
The holdouts at the Oregon refuge include David Fry, who has posted updates to the YouTube channel "DefendYourBase," which the group has used frequently to release information. He has said the four want assurances they won't be arrested and demand pardons for everyone involved. They have not posted a video since Sunday, but it was not clear why.
Ammon Bundy's attorney has said Bundy didn't recognize Fry's name and that he wasn't a core member of the group. The other remaining occupiers are Jeff Banta and married couple Sandy and Sean Anderson.