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Bundy lawyer says court violated rancher’s speedy trial rights

Updated April 19, 2017 - 7:49 pm

A lawyer representing Cliven Bundy has accused a federal judge of violating the embattled cattle rancher’s constitutional right to a speedy trial by setting a June 26 start date in the second Bunkerville standoff case.

In a motion filed Wednesday in federal court in Las Vegas, defense attorney Bret Whipple asks the court to modify a recent order that set the late-June start date for the second of three groups of defendants in the high-profile case.

“This court has, on its own initiative, set a trial well beyond the range suggested by the ‘thirty-day’ planned trial schedule,” Whipple wrote in the filing.

Bundy, some of his sons, and others charged as “leaders” of a mass assault on federal agents initially were scheduled to be tried 30 days after the first trial’s completion. But federal prosecutors recently requested additional time to prepare for the second trial.

The jury finished its fourth day of deliberations Wednesday in the first trial, against six people charged as “gunmen” in the April 2014 armed standoff between protesters and federal authorities who tried to seize Bundy’s cows. If jurors return a verdict in the next week, the June 26 date would fall 60 days or more after the first trial’s conclusion.

“It is the United States’ obligation to provide innocent citizens accused of crimes a speedy trial,” Whipple wrote. “As such, the United States cannot extend time before trial due to alleged logistical problems it itself is creating.”

Whipple requested a trial date of no later than June 5.

Bundy, who turned 71 this month, has been incarcerated since his arrest last year on charges of conspiracy, assault, extortion and related counts. Federal prosecutors have said he recruited militiamen to travel to Bunkerville and block Bureau of Land Management agents from impounding his cattle from public land.

Contact Jenny Wilson at jenwilson@reviewjournal.com or 702-384-8710. Follow @jennydwilson on Twitter.

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