Cliven Bundy was denied bail in Portland, Oregon, on Tuesday, the Guardian reports. He is charged with felony conspiracy to impede federal officers in connection with the 2014 at his Nevada ranch. “If he’s released and goes back to his ranch, that’s likely the last the court will see of him,” the judge said.
Bundy was arrested at Portland international airport on Wednesday. He’d traveled to Oregon ostensibly to visit his sons, Ammon and Ryan, who’d already been arrested—but possibly also as a show of support for the four remaining occupiers at the Malheur wildlife refuge. (A week before, Bundy contradicted Ammon when he told the militants to stand their ground.)
Prosecutors allege that Bundy, who had refused to pay his grazing fees and fines for years, summoned hundreds of militiamen and sympathizers to his ranch in 2014 as the Bureau of Land Management began making plans to impound his cattle. The complaint against Bundy describes the ensuing confrontation, on April 12, as “a massive armed assault against federal law enforcement officers.”
In an affidavit arguing that Bundy should not be released before his case goes to trial, prosecutors describe the rancher as “lawless and violent.” From the Guardian:
On Tuesday, Nevada federal prosecutor Steven Myhre said there were more than 60 guns “raised, brandished, pointed at the officers” during the standoff.
“It’s difficult to find words to represent the level of violence,” Myhre told the court. “Almost to a person, those officers thought they were going to die that day.”
In support of the government’s case that Bundy should not be released on bail ahead of his trial, Myhre argued that Bundy’s “actions and deeds show his violent nature” and that many of the people who came to the standoff at the ranch two years ago were still at large and still “pledged” to support the rancher.
“He does not recognize federal courts—claiming they are illegitimate—does not recognize federal law, refuses to obey federal court orders, has already used force and violence against federal law enforcement officers while they were enforcing federal court orders, nearly causing catastrophic loss of life or injury to others,” the affidavit reads. “He has pledged to do so again in the future to keep federal law enforcement officers from enforcing the law against him.”
Bundy’s lawyer, Noel Grefenson, questioned why it had taken so long to bring charges against his client. “The government is saying he’s a danger and a lawless man,” Grefenson said Tuesday. “And yet, over the last 22 months, Nevada has done nothing.”
A preliminary hearing in Bundy’s case is scheduled in Las Vegas on Friday.