From AZCentral, Bundy Ranch standoff trial ends with zero guilty verdicts
A federal jury in Las Vegas did not return any guilty verdicts Tuesday against four men accused of taking up arms against federal agents during the Bundy Ranch standoff in 2014.
Jurors dealt government prosecutors a stinging defeat in the case when, after four days of deliberations, they returned not-guilty verdicts on the most serious charges and deadlocked on a handful of others.
Richard Lovelien of Oklahoma and Steven Stewart of Idaho were acquitted on all counts and walked out of court Tuesday night free after spending more than a year in prison…
Two other defendants, Eric Parker and O. Scott Drexler, both of Idaho, were acquitted on the most serious charges of conspiracy and extortion, but jurors failed to reach unanimous verdicts on weapons and assault charges…
This marks the second time a jury failed to convict the defendants on charges related to the standoff…
A jury in April deadlocked on charges against the four men. It convicted two other defendants on multiple counts. But it could not agree on conspiracy charges — a key component of the government’s case — against any of the six.
The government launched its second prosecution last month. The case climaxed Aug. 11 when Navarro abruptly ended court by ordering Parker off the stand and striking his testimony from the record as jurors watched.
The defendant was attempting to tell jurors what he saw during the standoff over a barrage of objections from prosecutors. Navarro ruled Parker violated court orders by discussing prohibited topics. Parker returned to the defense table and started crying while Navarro dismissed the jurors.
Marchese said jurors told him Tuesday the incident was a factor in their verdicts.
“That weighed heavily in their decision,” Marchese said. “They wanted to hear him speak. It was very bothersome to them. They felt like they weren’t getting the whole story.”