Cliven Bundy’s eldest son goes before a federal jury today to provide firsthand allegations of government misconduct, a day after his father’s lawyer blamed federal agents for escalating tensions ahead of a 2014 gunpoint standoff near the family ranch in Nevada.
Ryan Bundy is serving as his own attorney in the trial that opened Tuesday with the top federal prosecutor Las Vegas casting him, his brothers and his father as leaders of a conspiracy to enlist armed militia members to force the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to abandon efforts to round up Bundy cattle from public rangeland.
In pretrial hearings, Ryan Bundy raised questions about FBI camera surveillance of the Bundy family homestead, and challenged federal prosecutors to turn over recordings of any videos that were made.
Cliven Bundy’s lawyer, Bret Whipple, provided a first look at videos of confrontations involving armed federal agents and Bundy family members that Whipple said provided a catalyst for a tense gunpoint standoff once self-style militia members arrived from states including Arizona, Idaho, Utah, Oklahoma and New Hampshire.
One clip showed Bundy’s sister, Margaret Huston, thrown to the ground by a federal agent.
Another clip showed Bundy’s son, David Bundy, hauled to the ground and arrested by two agents who approached him for taking photos of armed men with guns on a ridge top near the Bundy ranch.
A third showed an agent zapping Bundy son Ammon Bundy with a stun gun.
“The government talks about the Bundys being threatening, intimidating, interfering. At the end of the day, you’re going to determine if it was a crime or not,” Whipple told the jury. “At the end of the day, the government is accountable to we the people.”