weather icon Clear
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Judge again refuses to let nationally known lawyer defend Cliven Bundy

Nevada’s chief federal judge Tuesday for the second time refused to let nationally known conservative lawyer Larry Klayman join Cliven Bundy’s defense team.

In a two-page order, Gloria Navarro said she will not allow Klayman into the high-profile criminal case until he can give her proof that “ethical disciplinary proceedings” against him in Washington, D.C., have been resolved in his favor.

Klayman, the founder of the Washington-based public interest groups Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch, is known for his tenacious pursuit of litigation, mostly in support of a wide range of conservative and libertarian issues.

He filed a petition to enter the Bundy case last month, but Navarro denied his request, questioning his candidness with her about the outcome of the disciplinary proceedings.

His troubles with the Washington bar stemmed from three separate alleged conflicts of interest in litigation involving Judicial Watch after he left the organization as its legal counsel, according to court documents.

Last month, Navarro said she would reconsider letting Klayman into the case if he provided her with the proper documentation of the case’s resolution.

Klayman later filed more documents but admitted the matter has not been resolved, Navarro said in her order Tuesday.

The lawyer blasted Navarro’s latest decision.

“The judge’s ruling will be legally challenged on an expedited basis,” he said. “It violates Cliven Bundy’s Sixth Amendment constitutional right to counsel and forces Cliven to forfeit his right to a speedy trial.

“The ruling demonstrates that the judge has an extra-judicial bias and prejudice against Cliven Bundy and his counsel, for which disqualification is required. The judge was recommended by (U.S. Sen.) Harry Reid and appointed by President Barack Obama, and the order wears her political allegiance on her sleeve.”

Last month, Klayman told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the Bundy family had asked for his legal help.

Bundy, 69, who is in federal custody, is facing criminal charges stemming from the April 12, 2014, armed standoff with law enforcement near his ranch in Bunkerville. He is represented by Las Vegas attorney Joel Hansen, who is active in the ultraconservative Independent American Party of Nevada.

In another development Tuesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen allowed one of Bundy’s sons, Ryan Bundy, to represent himself in the case with a standby attorney.

After explaining that the stakes were high — the younger Bundy essentially faces life in prison if convicted of all 16 charges against him — Leen asked, “Are you sure you want to do this, Mr. Bundy?”

“Yes I do,” Ryan Bundy replied.

Ryan Bundy, 43, also is representing himself in his Oregon case. He is among those charged in the armed takeover of a government wildlife refuge in Eastern Oregon earlier this year.

Contact Jeff German at jgerman@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-8135. Find @JGermanRJ on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.