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Retrial set for suspects in Bundy deadlock case in Nevada

Jury selection starts on Monday in Las Vegas for the retrial of 4 defendants whose cases were left deadlock when jurors weren’t able to reach a verdict.

Jullie Anne Mendoza

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LAS VEGAS, Nevada — The federal prosecutors in state of Nevada are slated to try again to prove that the four defendants should be spending decades behind the cold steel bars for bringing assault-style deadly weapons to a confrontation that interrupted the government agents from rounding up cattle near Cliven Bundy’s ranch more than three years ago.

The jury selection starts on Monday, July 10, in Las Vegas for the conspiracy retrial of four suspects whose cases were left in the dark undecided when the jurors weren’t able to pass the judgement back in April of 2017. The other other appellant were also found guilty of a number of charges.

“They’re going to pare down their case compared to last time,” Jess Marchese, the legal representative of defendant Eric Parker, said on Friday. “The government always fixes their mistakes.”

Todd Leventhal, the lawyer for suspect Scott Drexler, said that the prosecutors are now appealing for the judge to narrow the center of attention of the judicial proceedings to the hung jury itself, and not let defense attorneys elevate arguments regarding the constitutional rights and government land policy. The judge has yet to determine on those pleas.

A spokeswoman for acting United States Attorney Steven Myhre abstained from giving a comment on Friday.

Defendant Eric Parker was famously photographed lying on the pavement of an Interstate 15 overpass during the tense April 2014 deadlock, looking with his AK-47-style rifle toward a heavily armed U.S. federal agents below.

“His case comes down to that picture,” attorney Marchese said on Friday. “It’s a scary picture.”

Drexler, meanwhile, is seen in a similar photograph showed Richard Lovelien and Steven Stewart carrying assault-style rifles, but not aiming towards the U.S. government agents.

A 12-member jury that saw the same images failed to reach decisions on the four defendants. Most of the jurors voted to acquit on conspiracy, weapon, assault on a U.S. federal agent and other legal counts.

The four defendants preserve that they drove to southern Nevada from Idaho and Montana after seeing posts on social networking services regarding fight involving the unarmed Bundy family members and Bureau of Land Management agents using dogs as well as stun guns.

Officials said the U.S. government agents were enforcing federal court of law orders for Bundy to get his cattle off public rangeland after failing to shell out more than $1.1 million in grazing payment fees.

Two defendants pleaded guilty in 2016, and Gregory Burleson and Todd Engel were found guilty during the initial court trial.

Burleson, of Phoenix, is facing 57 years of mandatory prison time on eight counts of charges. While Engel, of Idaho, could face up to 30 years in penal institution. Meanwhile, Bundy, his sons Ammon and Ryan, as well as two other suspects are due for trial later this year. While the six other defendants’ trial, including two other Bundy sons, are scheduled for next year.

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