A federal judge dismissed all charges against rancher Cliven Bundy, his two sons and another man on Monday.
U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro cited “flagrant prosecutorial misconduct” in her decision to dismiss all charges against the Nevada rancher and three others.
Navarro on Dec. 20 declared a mistrial in the high-profile Bundy case. It was only the latest, stunning development in the saga of the Nevada rancher, and served as a repudiation of the federal government. Navarro accused prosecutors of willfully withholding evidence from Bundy’s lawyers, in violation of the federal Brady rule.
“Either the government lied or [it’s actions were] so grossly negligent as to be tantamount to lying.”
The Brady rule, named after the landmark 1963 Supreme Court case known as Brady v. Maryland, holds that failure to disclose such evidence violates a defendant’s right to due process.
“In this case the failures to comply with Brady were exquisite, extraordinary,” said Fox News legal analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano. “The judge exercised tremendous patience.”
The 71-year-old Bundy’s battle with the federal government eventually led to what became known as the Bundy standoff of 2014. But it began long before that.
In the early 1990s, the U.S. government limited grazing rights on federal lands in order to protect the desert tortoise habitat. In 1993, Bundy, in protest, refused to renew his permit for cattle grazing, and continued grazing his livestock on these public lands. He didn’t recognize the authority of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over the sovereign state of Nevada.