LAS VEGAS (AP) — Prosecutors are telling a federal judge in Las Vegas that Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and 18 co-defendants should be tried together in a criminal conspiracy case stemming from an armed standoff with federal agents in April 2014.
Documents filed Friday by the U.S. attorney in Nevada respond to filings by Bundy, his adult sons and nearly all the other defendants seeking separate trials.
Prosecutors argue that it is more efficient for one trial with one jury that can see “the entire picture of an alleged crime.”
The government also notes that separate trials would mean witnesses would have to return to Las Vegas to testify on multiple occasions.
Bundy attorney Joel Hansen argued in a May 27 filing that a group trial could confuse a jury into finding defendants “guilty by association.”
The 19 men have pleaded not guilty to various conspiracy, obstruction, weapon, threat and assault charges in the tense standoff that stopped a government round-up of cattle on public land close to Bundy’s ranch near Bunkerville. No shots were fired, and no one was injured.
Each of the men was arrested earlier this year. They remain jailed pending trial next February.
Prosecutors cast Cliven Bundy as the leader and organizer of the showdown with federal agents, along with sons Ammon, Ryan, Mel, and Dave Bundy and co-defendants Ryan Payne and Peter Santilli.
The government calls defendants Brian Cavalier, Blaine Cooper, Gerald DeLemus and Joseph O’Shaughnessy mid-level leaders and organizers of the confrontation.
Eight defendants — Gregory Burleson, Scott Drexler, Todd Engel, Richard Lovelien, Micah McGuire, Eric Parker, Steven Stewart and Jason Woods — are accused of having guns in the confrontation.
Seven defendants in the Las Vegas case are among 25 defendants facing trial in September in Portland, Oregon, on federal charges stemming from a 41-day occupation of a national wildlife refuge early this year. One defendant in that case has pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge.