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Third defendant Bunkerville standoff case reaches plea deal

A third defendant has struck a plea deal in the Bunkerville standoff case involving the Bundy family.

Joseph O’Shaughnessy, 44, an Arizona militia member, has agreed to plead guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navaro on Wednesday, according to court records.

Navarro has indicated that she has a plea agreement signed by O’Shaughnessy, who earlier this year pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge stemming from the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.

Prosecutors regard O’Shaughnessy as a midlevel organizer of the 2014 armed confrontation with law enforcement in Bunkerville, about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

Details of his agreement with the government will be made public after his court appearance next week. His Las Vegas lawyer, Andrea Luem, could not be reached for comment Thursday.

A total of 19 defendants, including Bundy patriarch Cliven Bundy and four of his sons, were indicted by a federal grand jury in the Bunkerville standoff. They were charged with conspiring to assault BLM agents on April 12, 2014, and taking back impounded Bundy cattle that had been grazing on federal land.

Two of the defendants — Gerald DeLemus, a politically active New Hampshire man, and Blaine Cooper, a Bundy family bodyguard who lives in Arizona — each pleaded guilty last week to two felony charges, including conspiracy. Prosecutors recommended six-year prison terms for both men.

DeLemus arrived in Nevada too late to participate in the assault on law enforcement, authorities say, near the Bundy ranch, but prosecutors alleged he became an “organizer of gunmen on the ground” afterward.

Cooper, described by prosecutors as a midlevel organizer in Bunkerville, also pleaded guilty in this year’s Oregon takeover, which authorities allege was led by Bundy son Ammon Bundy.

Ammon Bundy and his brother Ryan Bundy are among eight defendants preparing to stand trial in Oregon next week. The two brothers also are charged in the Bunkerville case.

One defendant in both cases, Bundy bodyguard Brian Cavalier, pleaded guilty in Oregon but is not on track to do the same in Nevada.

His Las Vegas lawyer Mace Yampolsky said Thursday the six-year prison term prosecutors offered “wasn’t acceptable,” and he is preparing for next year’s trial.

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

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