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Prosecutors seek 3 separate trials in Bunkerville standoff case

Federal prosecutors have proposed three separate trials next year for the remaining 17 defendants charged in the April 2014 Bunkerville standoff.

In court papers over the weekend, prosecutors suggested trying the alleged leaders — Peter Santilli, Ryan Payne, Cliven Bundy and Bundy’s sons Ammon and Ryan — on Feb. 6, the existing trial date.

Prosecutors then suggested a May trial for the alleged mid-level organizers and followers — Dave Bundy, Mel Bundy, Joseph O’Shaughnessy, Brian Cavalier, James Woods and Micah McGuire.

A third trial is proposed for August for the alleged gunmen: Ricky Lovelien, Todd Engel, Gregory Burleson, Eric Parker, Scott Drexler and Steven Stewart.

“The government submits that separating the defendants by their roles into three identifiable tiers promotes the fair, just and efficient trial of the defendants as a whole, conserves scarce judicial resources and is the least impactful to the victims and witnesses in this case,” prosecutors wrote.

The 17 defendants face a variety of federal charges, including conspiring to assault the federal agents on April 12, 2014, several miles from the Bundy ranch near Bunkerville.

Prosecutors alleged the armed assault occurred as the Bundys and their followers moved to take back Bundy cattle that had been impounded by Bureau of Land Management agents.

Ammon and Ryan Bundy were acquitted last month by a Portland jury in an armed takeover of a government wildlife refuge in Oregon.

Contact Jeff German at jgerman@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4564. Follow @JGermanRJ on Twitter.

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