LAS VEGAS, April 16 (UPI) — Brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy and three other defendants refused to enter pleas during an arraignment Friday in connection to a 2014 armed standoff with law enforcement at their father’s ranch.
Pleas of “not guilty” were entered by U.S. Magistrate Judge George Foley Jr., on behalf of Ammon, 40, and Ryan, 43, as well as Ryan Payne, 32, Brian Cavalier, 44, and Blaine Cooper, 36.
The five men were also involved in the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon earlier this year. They were transported from Oregon to Las Vegas by U.S. Marshals.
The brothers face several felony charges stemming from a 2014 conflict at the Bundy ranch in Bunkerville between their father Cliven, 69, and federal agents. The elder Bundy allegedly refused to pay fees for his cattle to graze on public lands. Cliven was arraigned in the conflict in March and also refused to enter a plea.
Federal prosecutors said the brothers helped coordinate armed protests in Bunkerville, but avoided prosecution for about two years until their connection to the armed takeover in Oregon earlier this year.
Ammon Bundy told the judge he was mistreated while in jail, not given food and handcuff for a 23-hour stretch since he arrived in Las Vegas.
“I don’t see how we are being treated as innocent in any way,” he said.
Ammon’s attorney in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge case, Mike Arnold, also traveled to Las Vegas and argued that the Las Vegas prosecutors should hold the case until the Oregon trials are complete.
“These guys have the right to a speedy trial and the right to a fair trial,” Arnold said. “The timing of the federal government charging them in the Nevada case is very suspicious. They waited two years and they chose to do it at a particular time that is going to make defending them in Oregon very difficult. There are mountains of discovery to look at, and they can’t be in two places at once.”
The judge set detention hearings for the Bundy brothers for Wednesday, as well as a separate hearing to determine if Ryan would be allowed to defend himself.