Judge Gives Cliven Bundy One More Reason to Hate the Federal Government

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Nevada Rancher And Federal Gov't Face Off Over Land Use Battle
Think of it as father-son bonding time.Photo: George Frey/2014 Getty Images

Cliven Bundy won’t be back on his Nevada ranch anytime soon. Bundy, who urged his son Ammon’s militia to continue its occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, was arrested February 10 at Portland International Airport on his way to join the group. He’s being held on charges related not to the occupation but to his armed standoff with the federal government in 2014, after officials tried to round up the cattle he was grazing on federal land, reportedly making Bundy “almost mad enough to swear.” On this trip, Bundy had presumably hoped to return to his ranch to await trial, but a federal judge ruled that he must stay behind bars and is not allowed to post bail. “If he is released and he goes back to his ranch, that is likely the last the government will see of him,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Janice Stewart told NBC.

Bundy is charged with conspiracy, assault on a federal officer, obstruction, weapon use and possession, extortion to interfere with commerce, and aiding and abetting. He also owes more than $1 million in fees for letting his cows graze illegally for decades. In 2014, he rounded up 200 armed followers to stop federal officials from kicking his cows off public land. “Witnesses have described the level of threatened violence as so intense someone lighting a firecracker would have set off a firefight,” reads a document filed by prosecutors. Given his son’s hyperloyal following, that sounds about right.