Rancher Cliven Bundy Goes Against Feds in Court

He refused to pay grazing fees for federal land
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2017 2:32 PM CST
Big Trial on the Modern West Gets Underway in Vegas
This 2015 photo shows rancher Cliven Bundy as he speaks with supporters at an event in Bunkerville, Nev.   (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

A closely watched trial about the modern West and the freedom of ranchers to use federal land begins Monday in Las Vegas. The big name involved is rancher Cliven Bundy, who led an armed standoff in Nevada against federal agents in 2014 over unpaid grazing fees. His adult sons also face charges. Some coverage:

  • Seventeen men are charged, and three separate trials are planned. Jury selection for the first six begins Monday. The Bundys themselves will be in the second round. Courthouse News has details on the legal process.
  • The AP has background on Bundy's standoff, explaining how it has its roots in a decades-long dispute between Western ranchers and the feds over land rights. Read it here.
  • This previous story in the Atlantic lays out the beliefs of Bundy, who doesn't recognize federal authority over the land in question.

  • These trials are about far more than just one family; they're about a movement, one sure to be emboldened if the men are acquitted, writes a columnist at the Las Vegas Sun.
  • In fact, two of Bundy's sons were acquitted in October after another standoff at a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon.
  • Prosecutors have a big potential problem: An unrelated ethics investigation into a federal agent who plays a key role in the Bundy case could upend the prosecution, reports the Arizona Republic.
  • Juror identities are secret, but the Las Vegas Review-Journal is trying to change that.
  • High Country News has a primer on the Bundy case, including links to background pieces here.
After the standoff ended, Bundy came under fire for his comment that African-Americans might be better off as slaves. (More Cliven Bundy stories.)

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