Malheur Occupiers in 'Oregon Standoff' Found Not Guilty

The defendants had been charged with conspiracy and gun possession in a federal facility after a takeover of a building in Oregon's Malheur Wildlife Refuge.

Published Oct. 27, 2016

 (Beth Nakamura/
Image courtesy of Beth Nakamura/

On 27 October 2016, ten months after an armed group of people took over the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, a jury found them not guilty on charges of conspiring to impede federal workers from doing their jobs and possession of firearms at a federal facility.

The verdict was met with cheers and high drama, as U.S. Marshals tackled Marcus Mumford (attorney for defendant Ammon Bundy) to the ground and detained him after he began to argue that his client should be freed:

After the jury handed down its decision, Judge Anna Brown allowed all of the refuge occupiers to leave the courtroom except for Ammon and Ryan Bundy. Both men have federal holds for a separate ranching standoff in Nevada that was led by their father Cliven Bundy.

Mumford got into a heated argument that ultimately led to the attorney being led out of the courtroom in handcuffs. Our reporters say Mumford started repeatedly yelling that his client was free to go after the verdict was read.

Oregon governor Kate Brown issued a statement about the verdict on Twitter:

According to Oregon Public Broadcasting reporter Amelia Templeton:

The jury began by reading out the verdict for Ammon Bundy, ostensibly the leader of the occupation, and when we heard that Ammon Bundy was not guilty, it became clear very quickly that likely no one in the case was going to be found guilty, and indeed, everyone has been acquitted.

The standoff turned deadly, as well, when LaVoy Finicum was shot and killed by FBI agents, who said they thought he was reaching for his gun.

Ammon Bundy is among nineteen people still facing charges in Nevada for his role in an April 2014 standoff with the Bureau of Land Management, when his father Cliven Bundy (and three other younger Bundys) rallied hundreds of people (many of them armed) to keep federal agents from seizing his cattle, which they said were grazing on protected land.

Brooke Binkowski is a former editor for Snopes.