FBI agent testifies he filmed crowd at Bundy ranch

Inset: Lloyd D. George U.S. District Courthouse, District of Nevada, Las Vegas, Nevada, undated. Background: This April 12, 2014, St. George News file photo shows riders on the ridge near the Bundy support rally. They will soon ride to the wash and aid in the release of the cattle impounded by the BLM, Clark County, Nevada, April 12, 2014. In February 2016 trial has begun against six defendants accused of stopping U.S. agents at gunpoint from rounding up cattle near Cliven Bundy's ranch in April 2014. | Courthouse photo courtesy of U.S. Marshals Service; background photo submitted / file, St. George News

LAS VEGAS — Jurors got a unique perspective from the FBI Monday of an armed standoff developing in a dry river wash where six defendants are accused of wielding weapons to force federal agents to abandon a round-up of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle in April 2014.

Special Agent E.J. McEwen testified that people on the ground probably didn’t know he was nearly 12,000 feet above, recording video from a single-engine airplane as the noontime standoff developed beneath an Interstate 15 overpass near the community of Bunkerville.

At that altitude, the Cessna would be hard to see or hear, McEwen told Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Myhre.

FILE – In this April 12, 2014, file photo, the Bundy family and their supporters fly the American flag as their cattle is released by the Bureau of Land Management back onto public land outside of Bunkerville, Nev. A federal judge in Nevada is considering crucial rulings about what jurors will hear in the trial of six defendants accused of stopping U.S. agents at gunpoint from rounding up cattle near Cliven Bundy’s ranch in April 2014. | Jason Bean/Las Vegas Review-Journal, via AP, File, St. George News

McEwen’s images showed perhaps 200 people gathering on foot and on horseback with flags fluttering in a stiff breeze and dogs running ahead in a dry river wash beneath the overpass.

Above them, a line of people were spread along the concrete side barriers of the freeway overpass.

The crowd faced a trio of pickup trucks and perhaps two dozen armed and armored federal agents and U.S. Bureau of Land Management employees guarding corrals holding almost 400 head of cattle collected by contract cowboys in previous days.

At several points, McEwen’s camera zoomed in on people outside vehicles atop a ridge with a commanding view of the entire scene. The jury wasn’t immediately told if they were government officials or Bundy backers.

Other views showed where then-Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie and Las Vegas police set up a command post near the freeway.

In the wash, a tense standoff ended with no shots fired, no one injured and the cows set free.

Nearly three years later, the government accuses the six defendants — Gregory Burleson, Orville Scott Drexler, Todd Engel, Richard Lovelien, Eric Parker and Steven Stewart — of charges including conspiracy, firearm offenses and assault on a federal officer. Testimony is expected to take about 10 weeks.

Civilian militia at the Bundy support rally, Clark County, Nev., April 12, 2014 | Photo courtesy of a photographer who requested his name be withheld, St. George News

The trial is due to follow in May for Cliven Bundy, sons Ryan and Ammon Bundy and two other accused leaders of the alleged conspiracy.

Trial for six co-defendants, including two other Bundy sons, is expected in August.

Myhre last week showed photos of each of the first six defendants with a rifle, and he told the jury it’s a felony to use a gun to threaten the life of a federal law enforcement officer.

Defense attorneys denied their clients threatened anyone.

They portrayed Burleson, Drexler, Lovelien, Parker and Stewart as citizens spurred by scuffles between federal agents and Bundy family members to travel from Arizona, Idaho and Montana to the Bundy ranch to protest government heavy-handedness.

Engel, who is serving as his own attorney, admitted having a weapon. But he said he never threatened federal agents.

Written by KEN RITTER, Associated Press

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

4 Comments

  • dogmatic February 14, 2017 at 10:22 am

    Ends peaceful when both sides have guns.
    Bundy would have a better chance if the trial was in Utah, to much liberal monkey business in southern Nevada.
    They should take Las Vegas attach it to Southern Californication and give it to Mexico and we would all be happy.

    • Badshitzoo February 15, 2017 at 2:11 am

      Yes simpleton, everyone knows you just want to be left alone on your prairie with your farm animals, but that’s not what is going to happen. What’s going to happen is Californians are going to keep moving here in droves to buy up all the bankrupt cowpokes land, and build new mini mansions you will never be able to afford to live in, on new golf courses you’ll never be able to afford to play on.

      • tcrider February 15, 2017 at 8:29 am

        do you own a shitzoo?

        I have been looking for a jackshitzoo,
        my favorite breeds

  • .... February 15, 2017 at 12:27 am

    Mexico doesn’t want it either

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.